The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its list of 26 semifinalists for the 2017 class on Wednesday.
Chris Wesseling of NFL.com explained the 26 semifinalists came from a field of 94 nominees. Those 26 will be trimmed to a list of 15 finalists in January.
According to Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk, the semifinalists list typically includes 25 nominees, but there was a tie for the final spot this year.
Gantt noted the five players (Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Joe Jacoby, John Lynch and Kurt Warner) who fell just short after making it into the final 10 considered for the 2016 class were all included on Wednesday’s list.
What’s more, those who were in the top 15 but not those last 10 are on the semifinalists list (Terrell Owens, Morten Andersen, Steve Atwater, Alan Faneca and Edgerrin James).
There are a number of offensive playmakers who stand out, including Owens, LaDainian Tomlinson, Davis, Roger Craig, Torry Holt, James and Hines Ward.
Wesseling called Tomlinson the headliner considering the former San Diego Chargers star won the 2006 NFL Most Valuable Player and was named to five Pro Bowls and three First Teams All-Pro.
He also finished third in league history with 162 touchdowns and racked up 13,684 rushing yards and 18,456 all-purpose yards.
Owens is a six-time Pro Bowler and five-time member of the All-Pro First Team as one of the best receivers in league history.
He is sixth all-time with 1,078 receptions, second with 15,394 receiving yards and third with 153 touchdown catches.
The wide receiver would seem like a surefire lock based on those totals, but Hall of Fame voter Gary Myers appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and said Owens’ disruptiveness in the locker room was why he wasn’t included in the 2016 class (h/t Steven Ruiz of USA Today).
Elsewhere, Warner is the only semifinalist quarterback for 2017 as a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time league MVP and signal-caller who led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl title.
Defense is also well-represented, including Jason Taylor, Darren Woodson, Brian Dawkins, Ty Law and John Lynch.
“I’m just humbled by this opportunity,” Dawkins said, per the Philadelphia Eagles. “It’s a huge honor for me.”
Brett Favre, Orlando Pace, Marvin Harrison, Dick Stanfel, Ken Stabler, Tony Dungy, Eddie DeBartolo and Kevin Greene were inducted in the 2016 class.
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