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Darrelle Revis, Dwight Freeney Among 1st-Time Nominees for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 20, 2022

AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File

Cornerback Darrelle Revis and edge-rusher Dwight Freeney are among the first-time nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2023.

Joining them as first-time nominees are running back Chris Johnson, offensive linemen Jahri Evans and Joe Thomas, linebackers NaVorro Bowman and James Harrison, safety Kam Chancellor and punter Shane Lechler.

Revis, 37, was one of the top lockdown cornerbacks in football during his career (2007-17) for the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro selection, securing 29 interceptions. While that number may seem low, opposing quarterbacks often didn't target him, and he's a virtual lock to get inducted into Canton.

The 42-year-old Freeney was a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks from 2002 to 2017. His 125.5 career sacks are the 18th-most in NFL history.

Like Revis, he seems like a strong bet for induction into the Hall of Fame.

Johnson, 36, burned bright during his 10-year career (2008-17), rushing for over 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons, including 2,006 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009. The three-time Pro Bowler, one-time first-team All-Pro and 2009 Offensive Player of the Year fell off after leaving the Tennessee Titans in 2014 but finished his career with 9,651 rushing yards and 55 rushing scores.

Evans played from 2006 to 2016 for the New Orleans Saints and in 2017 for the Green Bay Packers. The 39-year-old was a six-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro.

Thomas, 37, spent his entire 11-year career with the Cleveland Browns. He was a 10-time Pro Bowler and six-time first-team All-Pro and is guaranteed to be a Hall of Famer, potentially as a first-ballot selection.

Bowman played just seven NFL seasons because of injuries (2010-17), but he was a tackling machine for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, registering over 100 tackles five times and 140 or more tackles four times. The 34-year-old was a three-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro and with more longevity would have been an easy selection into Canton.

Harrison, 44, had plenty of longevity, playing from 2002 to 2017, largely for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro and the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. He accumulated 84.5 sacks.

Chancellor was one of the headliners on the Seahawks' famed Legion of Boom secondary, joining fellow safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman. While a nerve injury in his neck cut his career short in 2017 after eight seasons, the 34-year-old was a four-time Pro Bowler and one of the biggest hitters in the NFL from his strong safety position.

Lechler, 46, spent 18 seasons in the NFL for the Raiders (2000-12) and Houston Texans (2013-17). He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and six-time first-team All-Pro, and his career average of 47.6 yards per punt is the best mark in league history. He's a safe bet for induction into the Hall.

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