On Thursday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the list of candidates for the Class of 2013, and two Broncos are among the first-year eligible modern-era candidates.
Center Tom Nalen and safety John Lynch are nominees in their first year of eligibility.
Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowler, spent the first 11 years of his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before joining the Broncos as a free agent in 2004. He spent four seasons with Denver, capping off a career that featured 1,277 tackles, 13 sacks, 26 interceptions, 100 passes defensed, 16 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries.
Nalen started 188 of 194 games played in his career, and never committed more than six penalties in a season. He earned five Pro Bowl nominations — the most by an offensive lineman in Broncos history, and won back-to-back Super Bowls with the team.
The two first-year candidates join five fellow former Broncos — running back Terrell Davis, wide receiver Rod Smith, linebacker Karl Mecklenburg and safeties Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith — and a former Broncos coach, Dan Reeves, as nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
In total, there are 127 candidates for the class. From that list, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will choose 25 candidates that advance as semifinalists. Those players are typically announced in late November.
Last year, Atwater, Davis and Mecklenburg all three reached the semifinal round.
From there, the list of semifinalists will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists, announced in early January.
The Class of 2013 will be selected from the list of the 15 modern-era finalists plus the two senior nominees (former Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers nose tackle Curley Culp and former Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins linebacker Dave Robinson), who were chosen in August by the selection committee.
The final class will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 2 — the day before Super Bowl XLVII.