The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 28 modern-era semifinalists for the Class of 2023, headlined by cornerback Darrelle Revis, pass-rusher Dwight Freeney and special-teams legend Devin Hester.
Here's the full list of semifinalists:
- RB: Fred Taylor, Ricky Watters
- WR: Anquan Boldin, Henry Ellard, Torry Holt, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith Sr., Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne
- OL: Willie Anderson, Jahri Evans, Joe Thomas
- DB: Eric Allen, Ronde Barber, Rodney Harrison, Albert Lewis, Darrelle Revis, Darren Woodson
- LB: London Fletcher, James Harrison, Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware (also DE), Patrick Willis
- DL: Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis (also LB), Vince Wilfork
- ST: Devin Hester (also WR)
Revis, Freeny, offensive lineman Thomas and Evans and linebacker Harrison are all first-year eligible candidates. Revis, Freeney and Thomas, in particular, will all make strong cases.
Revis, 37, was a seven-time Pro Bowler, four-time first-team All-Pro and won a title in his 11-year career with the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs. His coverage skills were legendary enough to earn him the moniker "Revis Island," and opposing quarterbacks often wouldn't even throw to his side in his prime.
Thomas, 37, played 11 NFL seasons and was a Pro Bowler in 10 of them, adding six first-team All-Pro selections to his career resume. He was consistently one of the best offensive lineman of his generation and a bookend left tackle for the Cleveland Browns.
Freeney, 42, played 16 seasons for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first-team All-Pro, a one-time champion and his 125.5 sacks ranks 18th all time.
Allen, 40, will make a fascinating comparison to Freeney for voters, with his 136.5 sacks ranking 12th in NFL history. He also twice led the NFL in sacks, compared to once for Freeney, and was a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro selection.
And then there is kick- and punt-return extraordinaire Devin Hester, who holds the record for the most combined special-teams return touchdowns (20) and most punt-return touchdowns (14).
But Hester also had a solid career as an NFL receiver, catching 255 passes for 3,311 yards and 16 touchdowns across stints with the Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks.
The four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All Pro is most famous for his exploits as a return man, however.