The list of players eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the Class of 2009 has been narrowed down to 25 semifinalists.
Four first-year eligible players are in the group, including former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe. The other first-year eligible players are John Randle, Bruce Smith and Rod Woodson.
Former Broncos running back Terrell Davis is also among the 25 semifinalists.
The remaining 20 candidates are WR Cris Carter, RB Roger Craig, C Dermontti Dawson, DE Richard Dent, DE/LB Chris Doleman, LB/DE Kevin Greene, G Russ Grimm, P Ray Guy, DE/LB Charles Haley, CB Lester Hayes, DT Cortez Kennedy, G Bob Kuechenberg, G Randall McDaniel, owner Art Modell, DT John Randle, WR Andre Reed, QB Ken Stabler, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, WR Steve Tasker, LB Derrick Thomas and owner Ralph Wilson.
Former Broncos S Steve Atwater (1989-98), LB Tom Jackson (1973-86), LB Karl Mecklenburg (1983-94), Head Coach Dan Reeves (1981-92) and CB Louis Wright (1975-86) were part of the initial list of nominees, though they did not make the list of semifinalists.
The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era candidates. The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced in early January. Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules do stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year.
The Class of 2009 will be determined at the Selection Committee’s annual meeting on Saturday, January 31, 2009, in Tampa, Florida the day before Super Bowl XLIII. The election results are announced immediately following the meeting at a press conference at the Super Bowl media headquarters.
– Adam Zinser, DenverBroncos.com