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15 Modern-Era Player Finalists Announced

15 Modern-Era Player Finalists Announced

01/02/2020
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The 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 include seven individuals who are finalists for the first time. The list is comprised of two first-year eligible players with safety Troy Polamalu and wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Five others – safety LeRoy Butler, wide receiver Torry Holt, linebackers Sam Mills and Zach Thomas, and defensive tackle Bryant Young – have been previously eligible for the Hall of Fame but this year marks their first time as finalists.

The 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists will be considered for election to the Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets on “Selection Saturday” in Miami the day before Super Bowl LIV. The full committee will elect five Modern-Era Players who must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent from the committee. The players will join 15 additional enshrinees to form the Class of 2020. A special Blue-Ribbon Panel will meet in early January to elect 10 Seniors (players who last played more than 25 years ago), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two Coaches.

The Modern-Era Player Finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s Selection Committee from a list of 122 nominees named in September that was reduced to 25 Semifinalists in late November.

The 2020 Modern-Era Player Finalists with their positions, years and teams:


Times As Finalist | Years of Eligibility | Finalist Bios | NFL Honors

Ford HOF Fan Vote | Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls

 

TIMES AS FINALIST

Player

Times

Years

Steve Atwater

3

2016, 2019-2020

Tony Boselli

4

2017-2020

Isaac Bruce

4

2017-2020

Leroy Butler

1

2019

Alan Faneca

5

2016-2020

Torry Holt

1

2020

Steve Hutchinson

3

2018-2020

Edgerrin James

4

2016, 2018-2020

John Lynch

7

2014-2020

Sam Mills

1

2020

Troy Polamalu

1

2020

Richard Seymour

2

2019-2020

Zach Thomas

1

2020

Reggie Wayne

1

2020

Bryant Young

1

2020

 

YEARS OF ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for election, modern-era players must have last played more than five seasons ago.

Year of Eligibility

Finalist

1st

Troy Polamalu, Reggie Wayne

3rd

Steve Hutchinson, Richard Seymour

5th

Alan Faneca

6th

Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Edgerrin James

7th

Zach Thomas

8th

John Lynch, Bryant Young

14th

Tony Boselli, LeRoy Butler

16th

Steve Atwater

18th

Sam Mills

 

CLASS OF 2020 FINALISTS

 

STEVE ATWATER

HOF Finalist: 3 | Year of Eligibility: 16
Position: Safety

Ht: 6-3, Wt: 218

NFL Career: 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets

Seasons: 11, Games: 167

College: Arkansas

Drafted: 1st Round (20th overall), 1989

Born: Oct. 28, 1966 in Chicago, Illinois

Made immediate impact as rookie in 1989 as Denver led NFL in fewest points allowed, recorded AFC’s best record and earned a berth in Super Bowl XXIV … Named to NFL All-Rookie Team … Noted for hard hitting and devastating tackling ... Broncos leading tackler in 1993 and 1995 … Recorded multiple interceptions in all but three seasons … Led Broncos in interceptions three seasons and interception return yardage four times … Career-high five interceptions, 1991 … Recorded 24 career picks returned for 408 yards and 1 TD … Totaled more than 1,000 career tackles … Registered five career sacks … Elected to eight Pro Bowls over nine-season span … Named All-Pro in 1991, 1992; Second-Team All-Pro, 1990, 1996 … All-AFC six times … Started at free safety in four AFC championship games and three Super Bowls … Recorded six tackles, one sack and one pass defensed in Super Bowl XXXII to help Broncos to first Super Bowl championship with win over Green Bay Packers … Contributed four tackles, three assists and two passes defensed against Atlanta Falcons in Denver’s Super Bowl XXXIII win … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

 

TONY BOSELLI

HOF Finalist: 4 | Year of Eligibility: 14
Position: Tackle

Ht: 6-7, Wt: 324

NFL Career: 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars

Seasons: 7, Games: 91

College: Southern California

Drafted: 1st Round (2nd overall), 1995

Born: April 17, 1972 in Modesto, California

Quickly became face of the expansion franchise … Sat out rookie training camp with knee injury, saw first action in Week 4 … First career start came following week in franchise’s first victory … Earned All-Rookie honors … Regarded as an elite tackle in the NFL during career … Noted for superb foot speed and agility … Persevered through numerous injuries … Leader of team that led expansion Jaguars to AFC championship game by second season … Anchored offensive line that helped team to four straight playoff appearances with records of 9-7, 11-5, 11-5 and 14-2 from 1996-99 … Picked as team’s Most Valuable Player in 1998 after helping Jaguars to team’s first division title …  Voted to five straight Pro Bowls (1997-2001) … Named First-Team All-Pro three consecutive seasons … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s despite only playing in half of the decade … Suffered severe shoulder injury that ultimately ended career and placed on injured reserve after three games, 2001 … Houston Texans’ first pick of 2002 expansion draft but injury prevented him from playing again.

 

ISAAC BRUCE

HOF Finalist: 4 | Year of Eligibility: 6
Position: Wide Receiver

Ht: 6-0, Wt: 184

NFL Career: 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams,
2008-09 San Francisco 49ers

Seasons: 16, Games: 223

College: Santa Monica College (JC), Memphis

Drafted: 2nd Round (33rd overall), 1994

Born: Nov. 10, 1972 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

First career catch was 34-yard touchdown play … Breakout year in second season with career-high 119 catches for 1,781 yards and 13 TDS … First player in NFL history with three straight games with 170 or more receiving yards (181 vs. Colts, 191 vs. Falcons, 173 vs. 49ers), 1995 … Recorded first of three career 200-yard games in 1995 season finale … Led NFL in receiving yards (1,338), 1996 … Key offensive threat for “Greatest Show on Turf” … Started in two NFL championship games and two Super Bowls … Recorded six catches for 162 yards including 73-yard, game-winning touchdown reception in Rams’ 23-16 Super Bowl XXXIV victory … Retired as Rams’ all-time leader in catches, receiving yards, and most yards from scrimmage … Named All-Pro, 1999 … Voted to four Pro Bowls (1997, 2000, 2001, 2002) … Twelve seasons with 50 or more catches … Racked up 1,000-yard seasons eight times … Career numbers include 1,024 receptions for 15,208 yards (second most at time), and 91 touchdowns.

 

LEROY BUTLER

HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 14
Position: Safety

Ht: 6-0, Wt: 197

NFL Career: 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers

Seasons: 12, Games: 181

College: Florida State

Drafted: 2nd Round (48th overall), 1990

Born: July 19, 1968 in Jacksonville, Florida

One of the most prolific defensive backs in the Packers’ storied history and among premier safeties of his era … Led the team in interceptions five times … Key member of defense that guided team’s resurgence that included seven playoff appearances in nine-season span … Helped lead Packers to three straight division titles (1995-97) and two Super Bowl appearances … Started at strong safety in three consecutive NFC championship games and Super Bowls XXXI and XXXII … Had seven tackles and one sack in Packers’ 35-21 victory over New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI …  Intercepted a pass in every season but last … Career stats: 38 interceptions for 533 yards … Only pick-six came on 90-yard return versus San Diego Chargers, Sept. 15, 1996 … Registered 20.5 career sacks and one fumble recovery for a TD … Selected to four Pro Bowls … All-Pro four times (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

 

ALAN FANECA

HOF Finalist: 5 | Year of Eligibility: 5
Position: Guard

Ht: 6-4, Wt: 322

NFL Career: 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets,
2010 Arizona Cardinals

Seasons: 13, Games: 206

College: Louisiana State

Drafted: 1st Round (26th overall), 1998

Born: Dec. 7, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Missed just one game in career … Earned starting role in sixth game of rookie season … Helped pave way for 1,000-yard rushing season by Jerome Bettis to earn All-Rookie acclaim … Key leader of Steelers team that captured four division titles including three in four-year span … Helped Steelers post 10-plus wins five times including regular season records of 13-3 (2001) and 15-1 (2004) … Veteran leadership integral to Jets playoff run to reach AFC championship, 2009 … Named First-Team All-Pro six times (2001-02, 2004-07); Second-Team All-Pro, 2003 and 2008 … All-AFC seven straight seasons, 2001-07 … Selected to nine straight Pro Bowls … Started 14 career playoff games including at left guard in four AFC championship games and Super Bowl XL … Dominating run blocker, led way for teams that finished among the NFL’s top 10 in rushing 11 times in 13 seasons … Blocked for nine 1,000-yard rushers and five 3,000-yard passers … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

 

TORRY HOLT

HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 6
Position: Wide Receiver

Ht: 6-0, Wt: 200

NFL Career: 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars

Seasons: 11, Games: 173

College: North Carolina State

Drafted: 1st Round (6th overall), 1999

Born: June 5, 1976 in Greensboro, North Carolina

Named team’s Rookie of the Year after catching 52 passes for 788 yards and 6 TDs to help Rams to Super Bowl title … Had 11 catches for 109 yards and 1 TD in Rams’ 23-16 victory over Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV … Eight straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons (2000-07) … Career-best 117 catches for 1,696 yards and 12 TDs in 2003 …. Had 10 games with 100 or more yards, 2003 … Led NFL in receptions in 2003; Receiving yardage in 2000 and 2003 … Recorded 80 or more catches in a season eight straight years … Led Rams in receptions seven straight years (2002-08) … Rams’ leading receiving yardage leader a record nine times … 920 career receptions for 13,382 yards and 74 TDs …. Named All-Pro, 2003; Second-Team All-Pro, 2006 … All-NFC twice … Voted to seven Pro Bowls … Selected to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

 

STEVE HUTCHINSON

HOF Finalist: 3 | Year of Eligibility: 3
Position: Guard

Ht: 6-4, Wt: 315

NFL Career: 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks,
2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings,
2012 Tennessee Titans

Seasons: 12, Games: 169

College: Michigan

Drafted: 1st Round (17th overall), 2001

Born: Nov. 1, 1977 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Named to NFL’s All-Rookie team … Key component of the offensive line that led Seattle to three straight playoff appearances (2003-05) … Paved way for NFL MVP Shaun Alexander who gained team record 1,880 yards and NFL record 28 touchdowns, 2005 … Started at left guard in Seahawks’ 34-14 win over Carolina Panthers in 2005 NFC Championship Game to earn franchise’s first Super Bowl berth … Signed as free agent with Vikings, 2006 … Led way for Adrian Peterson to become first Vikings player to lead NFL in rushing after racking up franchise record 1,760 yards, 2008 … Veteran leader who helped Vikings to back-to-back division titles, 2008-09 … Started at left guard for Vikings in 2009 NFC Championship Game … Named All-Pro six times (twice with Seattle, four times with Minnesota) … Voted to seven consecutive Pro Bowls … Twice chosen as NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year (2006, 2009) … Named to NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

 

EDGERRIN JAMES

HOF Finalist: 4 | Year of Eligibility: 6
Position: Running Back

Ht: 6-0, Wt: 219

NFL Career: 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals,
2009 Seattle Seahawks

Seasons: 11, Games: 148

College: Miami (Fla.)

Drafted: 1st Round (4th overall), 1999

Born: Aug. 1, 1978 in Immokalee, Florida

Powerful running style and versatility led to spectacular start of career … NFL’s Rookie of the Year, 1999 … Captured NFL rushing titles first two seasons (1,553 yards in 1999 and career-best 1,709 yards in 2000) and scored 13 rushing TDs in each season … Also caught 62 passes and 4 TDs as rookie and career-high 63 receptions and 5 TDs in second season … Key player in Colts offense that resulted in four division titles and six seasons with 10 or more wins … Won fifth division title with 2008 Cardinals … Started in two conference championship games (one with Indianapolis and one with Arizona) and Super Bowl XLIII … Eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season seven times; topped 1,500 four times … Career total: 12,246 yards on 3,028 carries and 80 TDs … Added 433 career catches for 3,364 yards and 11 TDs … All-Pro three times (1999-2000, 2004) … All-AFC four times (1999-2000, 2004-05) … Voted to four Pro Bowls … Selected to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

 

JOHN LYNCH

HOF Finalist: 7 | Year of Eligibility: 8
Position: Safety

Ht: 6-2, Wt: 214

NFL Career: 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos

Seasons: 15, Games: 224

College: Stanford

Drafted: 3rd Round (82nd overall), 1993

Born: Sept. 25, 1971 in Hinsdale, Illinois

Vital addition to Bucs defense that soon dominated NFL … Earned permanent starting role in fourth pro season, racked up more than 100 tackles and tied career-high with three interceptions … From that point forward, was anchor of secondary on a defense that perennially ranked among NFL’s best ... Voted to first of nine Pro Bowl following 1997 season … Earned First-Team All-Pro recognition three straight years (1999-2001) … In 2002, was integral part of Buccaneers’ championship season capped with franchise’s first Super Bowl title … Contributed 96 tackles (50 solo), three interceptions, and 12 passes defensed as Bucs finished 12-4 ... In postseason added five tackles in divisional playoff, six tackles in championship game and one tackle and pass defensed in Super Bowl XXXVII victory ... Signed as free agent with Denver in 2004 … Played final four seasons of 15-year career in Denver ... Helped lead Broncos to conference championship game in second season … That year recorded career-high four sacks, intercepted two passes, forced four fumbles, and racked up 69 tackles ... Added three solo tackles, one assist, one pass defensed in 1995 AFC Championship Game ... In all, recorded 26 interceptions, returned for 204 yards, 13 sacks, and more than 1,000 tackles ... Credited with 90 or more tackles in a season nine times.

 

SAM MILLS

HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 18
Position: Linebacker

Ht: 5-9, Wt: 229

NFL Career: 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers

Seasons: 12, Games: 181

College: Montclair State

Undrafted. Signed by New Orleans Saints in 1986 after playing three seasons in USFL

Born: June 3, 1959 in Neptune, New Jersey
Died: April 18, 2005.

Played three seasons in USFL before league folded, then signed with Saints in 1986 … Quickly became starter and team leader … Earned first Pro Bowl nod in second season … Led defense that helped Saints establish longstanding success for first time in franchise history … During his tenure in New Orleans, the team made four playoff appearances …  Signed with expansion Carolina Panthers as unrestricted free agent, 1995 … Key member of defense that helped Panthers claim division title and NFC championship game appearance in second season … Recorded five tackles and nine assists and one interception in the 1996 NFC Championship Game … Perennial team leader in tackles for Saints (five seasons) and Panthers (twice) … Named All-Pro and All-NFC three times (1991, 1992, 1996) … Voted to five Pro Bowls … Career statistics include 11 interceptions returned for 119 yards and 1 TD; Three fumble recoveries for touchdowns.

 

TROY POLAMALU

HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 1
Position: Safety

Ht: 5-10, Wt: 207

NFL Career: 2003-2014 Pittsburgh Steelers

Seasons: 12, Games: 158

College: Southern California

Drafted: 1st Round (16th overall), 2003

Born: April 19, 1981 in Garden Grove, California
 

Made huge impact with tenacious play en route to becoming premier safety of his era … Defensive leader that guided Steelers to seven playoff appearances, five division titles and two Super Bowl championships in his career … Started at strong safety in four AFC championship games and three Super Bowls … Strong performance in 2008 AFC Championship Game with 40-yard pick-six late in the game to propel Steelers to Super Bowl in addition to three tackles, one assist, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed … Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 when he intercepted seven passes for 101 yards and 1 TD … Career numbers include 32 interceptions for 398 yards and 3 TDs … Also scored 2 touchdowns on fumble recoveries … First-Team All-Pro four times and Second-Team All-Pro twice … Voted to eight Pro Bowls … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

 

RICHARD SEYMOUR

HOF Finalist: 2 | Year of Eligibility: 3
Position: Defensive End/Defensive Tackle

Ht: 6-6, Wt: 317

NFL Career: 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders

Seasons: 12, Games: 164

College: Georgia

Drafted: 1st Round (6th overall), 2001

Born: Oct. 6, 1979 in Gadsden, South Carolina

Integral member of defense that helped Patriots to six division titles over seven-season span … Patriots teams posted 10 or more wins seven times during his eight seasons with team … Led Patriots in sacks twice (2002, 2008) … Registered a career-high 8 sacks, 2008 … Amassed 57.5 career sacks … Recorded 3 or more sacks in every season but one … In games in which he recorded a sack, teams had a record of 46-8 (.852) … Returned fumble a franchise record 68 yards for TD against Buffalo Bills on Oct. 3, 2004 … Recorded 39 passes defensed, two interceptions in career … Played in four AFC championship games and four Super Bowls including victories in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX … Selected First-Team All-Pro three consecutive seasons (2003-05); Second-Team All-Pro twice (2006, 2011) … All-AFC five times … Voted to seven Pro Bowls … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2000s.

 

ZACH THOMAS

HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 7
Position: Linebacker

Ht: 5-11, Wt: 235

NFL Career: 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys

Seasons: 13, Games: 184

College: Texas Tech

Drafted: 5th Round (154th overall), 1996

Born: Sept. 1, 1973 in Pampa, Texas

Versatile and instinctive middle linebacker who made immediate impact … Intercepted three passes for 64 yards, 1 TD and 131 tackles, 49 assisted tackles and two sacks to earn team’s MVP honors and named AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year, 1996 … Led Dolphins in tackles 10 seasons … Racked up 100 tackles in each of his first 11 seasons … Amassed 22 tackles (14 solo) in 2001 playoff game versus Baltimore Ravens … Set Dolphins’ career record with four interceptions returned for touchdowns … Career statistics include 17 interceptions for 170 yards … Registered 20.5 career sacks … His 168 starts were most ever by Dolphins’ defensive player … First player in team history to win Leadership Award (voted by teammates) three times … First-Team All-Pro five times (1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006), Second-Team All-Pro twice (2001, 2005) … Voted to seven Pro Bowls.

 

REGGIE WAYNE

HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 1
Position: Wide Receiver

Ht: 6-0, Wt: 203

NFL Career: 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts

Seasons: 14, Games: 211

College: Miami (Florida)

Drafted: 1st Round (30th overall), 2001

Born: Nov. 17, 1978 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Offensive threat that helped Colts reach postseason every year but two during his career … Caught 100 passes in a season four times (104 in 2007, 100 in 2009, 111 in 2010, and 106 in 2012) … Recorded 1,000 receiving yards eight times … Led NFL with career-high 1,510 receiving yards, 2007 …Had 10 or more catches in a game 15 times … Set franchise record with 15 receptions versus Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 3, 2010 … Racked up 100 yards in a game 43 times … Career stats: 1,070 catches for 14,345 yards and 82 touchdowns … Started three AFC championship games and two Super Bowls … Had two receptions for 61 yards and TD in Super Bowl XLI victory … Retired as NFL’s second all-time leading receiver in postseason (93 catches) … First-Team All-Pro, 2010 … Second-Team All-Pro 2007, 2009 … Voted to six Pro Bowls over seven-year span.

 

BRYANT YOUNG

HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 8
Position: Defensive Tackle

Ht: 6-3, Wt: 290

NFL Career: 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers

Seasons: 14, Games: 208

College: Notre Dame

Drafted: 1st Round (7th overall), 1994

Born: Jan. 27, 1972 in Chicago Heights, Illinois

Highly touted draft pick earned All-Rookie honors … Amassed 89.5 career sacks … Registered multiple sacks in each of his 14 seasons … Recorded double-digit sack totals in a season twice (11.5 in 1996 and 11.0 in 1999) …Made NFL record-tying two safeties in a season, 1996 … Recovered from broken leg to earn 1999 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after finishing with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, 20 QB pressures and team-leading 11 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss and one safety … Started in two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl … Recorded three tackles, two assisted tackles, and one pass defensed in 49ers’ win over Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX … Won team’s esteemed Len Eshmont Award for inspirational and courageous play eight times … First-Team All-Pro twice (1996, 1998) … Voted to four Pro Bowls … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

 

NFL HONORS

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 will be introduced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on the eve of Super Bowl LIV at 9 p.m. (ET and PT) on FOX. NFL Honors will be taped earlier that evening at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami when the Hall of Fame’s Centennial Class of 2020 will be brought together for the first time. In addition, the NFL and The Associated Press will announce their annual accolades in this awards show with the winners on hand to accept their awards.

FORD PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME FAN VOTE

Fans can vote as many times as they wish at www.profootballhof.com/fanvote for their favorite Modern-Era Players under consideration for the Class of 2020.

Fans who vote automatically become eligible for many sweepstake prizes, including a Grand Prize trip for two (2) to the 2020 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls in Canton from Aug. 6-9, 2020.

This marks the 10th straight year that Ford, the Official Automobile of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has invited fans to predict the outcome of the annual Hall of Fame class. More than 25 million votes have been cast in the past decade.

2020 ENSHRINEMENT WEEK POWERED BY JOHNSON CONTROLS - OFFICIAL TICKET PACKAGES

Official ticket packages for the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls are on sale now at www.HOFExperiences.com/ or by calling 844-751-0532. A variety of ticket packages provide fans with VIP experiences, premium seating and parties with Hall of Famers. Packages range from event day offerings to four-day experiences that include a multitude of exclusive extras.

Individual tickets to the 2020 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls will go on sale at a later date.

Fans can also sign up to receive information and updates about tickets by going to www.profootballhof.com/enshrinement-ticket-info-request/

 

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