Pro Football Hall of Fame 2017: Complete List of NFL Inductees to Canton

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2017

Pro Football Hall of Fame 2017: Complete List of NFL Inductees to Canton

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    As part of the NFL's annual celebration leading up to the Super Bowl, the seven members of the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class were announced Saturday, per Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com. 

    Running back LaDainian Tomlinson leads the pack of inductees. He will be joined in Canton, Ohio, by running back Terrell Davis, quarterback Kurt Warner, defensive end Jason Taylor, kicker Morten Andersen, safety Kenny Easley and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. 

    The Hall of Fame selection committee chose from a list of 15 finalists on the modern-era ballot. Candidates for induction had to receive 80 percent of the vote from the selection committee, which met in a secret room Saturday. 

    The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be enshrined during a ceremony on Saturday, August 5. Here's a closer look at the legendary figures who will be inducted.

LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back

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    If there were one guaranteed lock among the finalists, it was LaDainian Tomlinson. He helped to usher in the current era of running backs who do more than take handoffs. He played 11 seasons with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets from 2001 to 2011. 

    The fifth overall draft pick in 2001 by the Chargers, Tomlinson started his career with eight straight seasons with at least 1,000 rushing yards. He led the NFL in rushing touchdowns three times (2004, 2006, 2007), rushing yards twice (2006, 2007) and yards from scrimmage once (2003).

    During the 2006 season, Tomlinson set NFL records with 31 total touchdowns and 28 rushing touchdowns en route to being named NFL MVP and helping lead the Chargers to a 14-2 record. 

    Tomlinson was named a first-team All-Pro three times, second-team three times and to the Pro Bowl five times. He was also on the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s. His 145 rushing touchdowns rank second and 13,684 rushing yards rank fifth in NFL history. 

    In addition to his rushing prowess, Tomlinson's 624 career receptions are tied for 61st in NFL history and 4,772 yards ranks 15th all-time among running backs. 

Jason Taylor, Defensive End

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    An unheralded third-round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1997, Jason Taylor turned into one of the NFL's most dominant pass-rushers of his era. 

    In 15 NFL seasons with the Dolphins, New York Jets and Washington, Taylor's career 139.5 sack total ranks seventh all-time. He led the league with 18.5 sacks in 2002 and recorded at least 11 sacks in a season six different times. 

    Taylor's dominance led to his being named to the Pro Bowl six times, the All-Pro first team three times and the NFL's All-Decade Team in the 2000s. He was also named AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 and 2006 and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2006. 

    In a league that has grown reliant on the passing game, an elite edge-rusher who can disrupt the opposing quarterback is a great luxury. Taylor was arguably the best at his position for more than a decade. 

Kurt Warner, Quarterback

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    Associated Press

    One of the greatest out-of-nowhere success stories in sports history, Kurt Warner's journey to immortality has culminated in his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

    Originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 1994, Warner didn't get into a game until 1998 with the St. Louis Rams when he threw 11 passes during garbage time in a 38-19 loss against the San Francisco 49ers in the season finale.

    Trent Green entered 1999 as the Rams' starting quarterback before knee ligament tears suffered during preseason provided an opportunity for Warner. He kicked that door down by throwing for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns en route to being named NFL MVP and leading the Rams to a Super Bowl victory.

    Warner added a second MVP trophy to his mantel in 2001 after leading the NFL in completions (375), completion percentage (68.7), passing yards (4,830), touchdowns (36) and quarterback rating (101.4).

    After five injury-plagued and inconsistent seasons, Warner resurrected his career in 2007 with the Arizona Cardinals, a period that lasted through 2009. He threw for 11,753 yards and 83 touchdowns, and led the franchise to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2008 and '09, including the franchise's first and only Super Bowl appearance.

    Warner's career lacked the longevity of many traditional Hall of Famers, with a peak that only covers six years and came between 1999 to 2009, but his run of dominance with the Rams and Cardinals helped usher in today's new era of wide-open offenses.  

Terrell Davis, Running Back

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    Associated Press

    Like fellow Hall of Fame finalists Kurt Warner and Tony Boselli, Terrell Davis' NFL run was short on years but heavy on production. 

    Davis' career lasted just seven seasons from 1995 to 2001. Looking at his accomplishments, he is arguably the second-best sixth-round draft pick in NFL history behind some quarterback named Tom Brady. 

    His career began with four straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, and he became one of seven players in NFL history to break the 2,000-yard barrier in 1998 when he was named NFL MVP. 

    Davis was also named to three straight All-Pro first teams and Pro Bowls from 1996 to 1998. He was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1996 and 1998 when he led the NFL in rushing touchdowns both seasons. 

    A knee injury suffered in 1999 would spell the end of Davis' career as a productive NFL player. He hung around for two more years before hanging up his cleats. It was an abrupt end to what was a historic start for his career, but his achievements have led to his immortalization. 

Morten Andersen, Kicker

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    Associated Press

    After carving out the second-longest NFL career in history (25 seasons), Morten Andersen has made history yet again by becoming just the fourth place-kicker inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

    Andersen played for five different teams, including the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants. He holds the NFL record for most career field goals made (565), points (2,544), games played (382) and ranks second in extra points made (849).

    In addition to his career records, Andersen was named to seven Pro Bowls, three All-Pro first teams and was part of the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1980s and 1990s. 

    Kicker isn't the most glamorous position, but it's vital to the success of an NFL team. Andersen's level of consistency over such a prolonged period warrants his inclusion into the Hall. 

Jerry Jones, Owner

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    Associated Press

    Jerry Jones is one of the most flamboyant, charismatic and controversial owners in professional sports, but there's no denying the impact he's had on the game. 

    After buying the Dallas Cowboys in 1989—followed by the immediate firing of head coach Tom Landry and subsequent firing of general manager Tex Schramm—Jones built the franchise into a dynasty in the 1990s with three Super Bowl titles in four years from 1992 to 1995. 

    In addition to winning championships, the Cowboys made eight playoff appearances in nine seasons from 1991 to 1999 with six division titles. 

    Even though the Cowboys haven't kept up that pace in the new millennium, Jones has remained one of the most prominent figures in the NFL over the course of his 28 years as an owner. 

    Beyond Jones' work with the Cowboys, ESPN.com's Todd Archer noted the 74-year-old was instrumental in pushing his fellow NFL owners to not give back television revenue to networks that were losing money on NFL contracts. 

    "Then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue invited Jones into the contract talks with the television networks, and the NFL found a fledgling network looking to add to its cache," Archer wrote. "In December 1993, Fox wanted in on football and outbid CBS by more than $100 million a season and the league's television contract reached $1.1 billion."

    Fox has had NFL programming every year since, and it will host this year's Super Bowl on Sunday. Meanwhile, the league's recent television contracts are paying it nearly $7 billion per year, per Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.com. 

    Jones' success as an owner and businessman have made him a divisive figure in the NFL, but there's no denying that his impact over nearly three decades makes him worthy of a spot in Canton. 

Kenny Easley, Safety

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    Drafted fourth overall by the Seattle Seahawks in 1981, Kenny Easley spent his entire seven-year career with the franchise. 

    During his time leading Seattle's secondary, Easley was an All-Pro first-team selection in three straight seasons from 1983 to 1985. He also played in five Pro Bowls, was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984 when he led the league with 10 interceptions and later made it to the All-Decade team in the 1980s. 

    Easley's playing career came to an abrupt end after the 1987 season when he was traded to the Phoenix Cardinals and diagnosed with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome during his physical. 

    Despite playing just seven NFL seasons, Easley finished with 32 interceptions and eight sacks. He fit more than a decade's worth of accomplishments into a short period and will be honored with a spot in Canton for his efforts.