The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

Bears, Texans to meet in Hall of Fame game

The Chicago Bears and Houston Texans will meet in the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.

The Hall of Fame announced the participants on Tuesday, and the teams were natural selections. Three former members of the Bears — Devin Hester, Steve McMichael and Julius Peppers — and Andre Johnson from the Texans are among the members of the organization’s 2024 class.

The game is set for Aug. 1 in Canton, Ohio, with the Hall of Fame enshrinement following Aug. 3.

Dwight Freeney, Randy Gradishar and Patrick Willis also will be inducted during ceremonies.

Johnson will be the first player who played the majority of his career with the Texans to have a bust in Canton. With the three additions, 32 former Bears will be in the Hall of Fame.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Former Carolina Panthers great Julius Peppers is honored on the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Peppers, Antonio Gates among 25 Hall of Fame semifinalists

Julius Peppers and Antonio Gates are among 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024.

Peppers, a prolific pass rusher for the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, and Gates, a tight end for the San Diego Chargers, joined 18 players who were semifinalists for the Class of 2023.

Eight of the final 15 in the ’23 class are again semifinalists, including Jared Allen, Willie Anderson, Dwight Freeney, Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, Torry Holt, Patrick Willis and Darren Woodson.

Peppers had 159.5 career sacks and 10 seasons with double-digit sacks. Like Gates, Peppers was a three-time All-Pro. Gates helped redefine his position and was an All-Pro in just his second season. He played a total of 16 seasons and is behind only Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten among tight ends in NFL history with 955 catches for 11,841 yards. Gates’ 116 touchdown receptions set the NFL record for tight ends.

Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, who retired following the 2006 season, joins Peppers and Gates as first-time semifinalists.

The 25 semifinalists will be reduced to 15 finalists before the final voting process for the Class of 2024 takes place in Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl LVIII in February.

Also under consideration in February are the recommended nominees of the Hall of Fame’s Coach/Contributor Committee: Buddy Parker; and its Seniors Committee: Randy Gradishar, Steve McMichael and Art Powell.

–25 modern-day semifinalists
The following is the list of 2024 Modern-Era Player Semifinalists, including their positions, years in the NFL and teams.

Also listed are the number of times and years the candidate has been named a Semifinalist since this reduction vote was added to the Hall’s bylaws in 2004.

Eric Allen, CB, 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2021-24)
Jared Allen, DE, 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2021-24)
Willie Anderson, T, 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2021-24)
Tiki Barber, RB, 1997-2006 New York Giants | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2024)
Anquan Boldin, WR, 2003-09 Arizona Cardinals, 2010-12 Baltimore Ravens, 2013-15 San Francisco 49ers, 2016 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
Jahri Evans, G, 2006-16 New Orleans Saints, 2017 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
London Fletcher, LB, 1998-2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002-06 Buffalo Bills, 2007-13 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
Dwight Freeney, DE, 2002-2012 Indianapolis Colts, 2013-14 San Diego Chargers, 2015 Arizona Cardinals, 2016 Atlanta Falcons, 2017 Seattle Seahawks, 2017 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
Antonio Gates, TE, 2003-18 San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2024)
Eddie George, RB, 1996-2003 Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans, 2004 Dallas Cowboys (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022, 2024)
James Harrison, LB, 2002-12, 2014-17 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2013 Cincinnati Bengals, 2017 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
Rodney Harrison, S, 1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-08 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2021, 2023-24)
Devin Hester, PR/KR/WR, 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
Torry Holt, WR, 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2015-2024)
Andre Johnson, WR, 2003-14 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
Robert Mathis, DE/LB, 2003-16 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
Julius Peppers, DE, 2002-09, 2017-18 Carolina Panthers, 2010-13 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Green Bay Packers (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2024)
Steve Smith Sr., WR, 2001-13 Carolina Panthers, 2014-16 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
Fred Taylor, RB, 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-10 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2020-24)
Hines Ward, WR, 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2017-2024)
Ricky Watters, RB, 1992-94 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-97 Philadelphia Eagles, 1998-2001 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2020, 2022-24)
Reggie Wayne, WR, 2001-14 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2020-24)
Vince Wilfork, DT, 2004-14 New England Patriots, 2015-16 Houston Texans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
Patrick Willis, LB, 2007-14 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2020-24)
Darren Woodson, S, 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2015, 2017, 2019-2024)

–Field Level Media

Aug 4, 2023; Canton, OH, USA; A general overall view of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1950s-era coach Buddy Parker named Hall of Fame finalist

Buddy Parker, who led the Detroit Lions to two NFL championships in the 1950s, was selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2024 class.

The coach, who died in 1982 at age 68, also is credited by the Hall of Fame as being the inventor of the two-minute offense.

Parker was selected by the Coach/Contributor Committee, the Hall of Fame announced Wednesday. His name will now go to the Hall of Fame’s 50-member Selection Committee, who will consider Parker along with 15 modern-era players and three seniors for enshrinement when the committee meets early next year.

It will require 80 percent approval from the committee for selection.

The list of semifinalists in the category was made up, in part, of Super Bowl-winning coaches and prominent owners. The semifinalists were Tom Coughlin, Mike Holmgren, Frank “Bucko” Kilroy, Robert Kraft, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney Jr., Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Shanahan, Clark Shaughnessy, Lloyd Wells and John Wooten.

In 15 seasons as a coach in the NFL with the Chicago Cardinals, Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers, Parker had a career record of 107-76-9, which includes a 3-1 record in the postseason.

His Lions won the 1952 and 1953 NFL title games, both against the Cleveland Browns. Detroit dropped the 1954 game to the Browns in what was Parker’s only head-to-head loss against Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown in five meetings as the Lions’ coach.

–Field Level Media

Aug 5, 2023; Canton, OH, USA;   Dan Fouts and Mindy Coryell Lewis unveil the bust of San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Cardinals former coach Don Coryell (deceased) during the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Legendary Don Coryell finally lands in Pro Football Hall of Fame

Don Coryell’s offenses routinely flew to the top of the statistical charts and remnants of his philosophies are part of modern-day NFL attacks.

But not until Saturday did the innovative former San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Cardinals coach get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Canton, Ohio.

Coryell died in 2010 at age 85 and it took another 13 years for him to get inducted. This was his seventh time as a finalist. Overall, it was a 30-year battle for daughter Mindy Coryell Lewis and the rest of the family.

“Ladies and gentlemen, ‘Air Coryell’ has landed in Canton!” Lewis said to wrap up her speech.

The Air Coryell offense revolutionized the single-back formation, tight ends in motion and receiver option routes.

Coryell’s offense in San Diego was ahead of its time and earned the catchy ‘Air Coryell’ nickname. His system turned quarterback Dan Fouts into one of the biggest stars of that era. Fouts presented Coryell into the Hall on Saturday.

“The Air Coryell system is second to none,” Fouts said. “His philosophy was that the defense would have to protect the entire field. … His influence on the game is one that continues to grow not only in the NFL but in college and high school football.”

Coryell’s Chargers led the NFL in scoring offense three times, in total offense five times and in passing offense in seven seasons.

Coryell had a record of 111-83-1 in 14 NFL seasons with the Cardinals (1973-77) and Chargers (1978-86), and his teams made six playoff appearances.

Among the coaches who learned under Coryell at San Diego State were future Hall of Famers John Madden and Joe Gibbs. Coryell also is a member of the College Hall of Fame and was the first coach to win 100 games at both the college and NFL levels.

Also inducted Saturday with cornerbacks Ronde Barber, Darrelle Revis and Kevin Riley; linebackers Chuck Howley and Zach Thomas and pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, defensive tackle Joe Klecko and offensive tackle Joe Thomas.

Zach Thomas, the fifth-round pick in the 1996 draft by the Miami Dolphins, said the induction fell on the 27-year anniversary of when coach Jimmy Johnson named him the team’s starting middle linebacker. He would become a seven-time Pro Bowler while playing 12 of his 13 overall seasons (1996-2008) with the Dolphins.

“He’s the hardest working player that I ever coached, with extreme talent,” Johnson said during his presentation of Thomas. “He made every play. He made every tackle.”

Revis was a seven-time Pro Bowler who was considered the best cornerback in the game during his first tenure (2007-12) with the New York Jets. He said he would’ve preferred to play basketball.

“Basketball was my first love, so it’s kind of surreal to be here today in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Revis said during his speech. “Life is shaped by the choices we make, but there is one thing we cannot choose. Where we come from is chosen for us. No one has control over when they’re born, what family they’re born into or where they start.

“But these things have a profound impact on every decision we make and who we become. The conditions had to be just right for me to end up here. Every moment, every opportunity perfectly aligned.”

One of the most popular players on Induction Day was Joe Thomas, the former mainstay of the Cleveland Browns offensive line from 2007-17. Thomas started all 167 games that he played and earned 10 Pro Bowl bids in 11 seasons.

“It’s the greatest honor of my career to be able to accept this lifetime award on behalf of all of Browns Nation,” Thomas said. “Cleveland, you could always count on me. Thank you so much for allowing me to count on you. Don’t forget to show up for each other.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 6, 2022; Canton, OH, USA; A general overall view of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

HOF names 60 semifinalists in senior, coach/contributor categories

The Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday announced the seniors, coaches and contributors who made the cut as semifinalists for the Class of 2024.

The Seniors Committee named 31 semifinalists and the Coach/Contributor Committee added 29 names who move on to the next round of consideration.

Each of the seniors semifinalists played their last game no later than the 1998 season.

They are: Ken Anderson, Ottis Anderson, Carl Banks, Maxie Baughan, Larry Brown, Mark Clayton, Charlie Conerly, Roger Craig, Henry Ellard, Randy Gradishar, Lester Hayes, Chris Hinton, Cecil Isbell, Joe Jacoby, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Mike Kenn, Bob Kuechenberg, George Kunz, Albert Lewis, Jim Marshall, Clay Matthews Jr., Steve McMichael, Eddie Meador, Stanley Morgan, Tommy Nobis, Art Powell, Sterling Sharpe, Steve Tasker, Otis Taylor, Everson Walls and Al Wistert.

The semifinalist coaches and contributors are: K.S. “Bud” Adams Jr., Roone Arledge, C.O. Brocato, Tom Coughlin, Alex Gibbs, Ralph Hay, Mike Holmgren, Frank “Bucko” Kilroy, Eddie Kotal, Robert Kraft, Elmer Layden, Jerry Markbreit, Virginia McCaskey, Rich McKay, John McVay, Art Modell, Buddy Parker, Carl Peterson, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney Jr., Marty Schottenheimer, Jerry Seeman, George Seifert, Mike Shanahan, Clark Shaughnessy, Seymour Siwoff, Jim Tunney, Lloyd Wells and John Wooten.

The respective selection committees next will whittle those lists down to 12 names each, with the results announced on July 27.

The Coach/Contributor Committee will then meet Aug. 15 to select one person for final consideration. The Seniors Committee will meet Aug. 15 to select up to three seniors for consideration for the Class of 2024.

–Field Level Media

Former Troy football player and current Dallas Cowboy Demarcus Ware attends the roast of Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, at the Renaissance.

Jackhawkins04

DeMarcus Ware to sing anthem before HOF Game

Two days before he’s enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, DeMarcus Ware will be back on the field for the Hall of Fame Game.

Ware is scheduled to sing the national anthem prior to the Aug. 3 preseason opener between the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets.

A pass-rushing terror who had 117 sacks with the Cowboys and 21.5 more — plus a Super Bowl 50 win — with the Denver Broncos, Ware was elected to the Hall of Fame class being enshrined at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Aug. 5.

Ware averaged .78 sacks per game during his career with 138.5 sacks in 178 games (173 starts).

He earned seven All-Pro selections, nine Pro Bowls and joins a class that includes Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas and Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Ronde Barber.

–Field Level Media

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Joe Thomas, Darrelle Revis lead Pro Football Hall of Fame class

First-time Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists Joe Thomas and Darrelle Revis lead the nine-member Class of 2023 that will be inducted in Canton, Ohio, in August.

The results of voting were announced Thursday night during the NFL Honors show in Phoenix. Players needed 80 percent approval from the Selection Committee, which met online this week.

The class also includes three finalists from the Seniors category: Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko and Ken Riley, along with Don Coryell, a finalist in the coach/contributor category.

Also elected were DeMarcus Ware, Ronde Barber and Zach Thomas. It was Ware’s second year as a finalist, Barber’s third and Zach Thomas’ fourth.

Joe Thomas was an offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns from 2007-17. Revis, a cornerback, played two stints with the New York Jets and one each with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas Chiefs from 2007-17.

Howley, a linebacker, played two seasons for the Chicago Bears and 13 for the Dallas Cowboys in a career that ended in 1973. Klecko spent 11 years with the Jets and a final season with the Indianapolis Colts in 1988. Riley, elected posthumously, spent his entire 15-season career with the Bengals, from 1969-83.

Coryell was a head coach for 14 seasons, first with the then-St. Louis Cardinals from 1973-77 and then from 1978-86 as the architect of “Air Coryell” for the then-San Diego Chargers.

Ware, a linebacker/defensive end, played for the Cowboys and Denver Broncos in a career that ran from 2005-16. Barber spent his entire 16-season career with the Buccaneers, 1997-2012. Zach Thomas played 13 seasons, the first 12 with the Miami Dolphins before finishing with the Cowboys in 2008.

–Field Level Media

Former Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas addresses the crowd after being inducted into the Browns Ring of Honor during halftime Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022 in Cleveland.

Syndication Akron Beacon Journal

Three newcomers join list of Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists

Left tackle Joe Thomas, defensive end Dwight Freeney and cornerback Darrelle Revis made the cut as finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.

The 15 modern era finalists were announced Wednesday night, with 12 holdovers joining the newcomers.

Returning to the ballot are defensive end Jared Allen, tackle Willie Anderson, cornerback Ronde Barber, wide receiver/returner Devin Hester, linebackers Zach Thomas and Patrick Willis, defensive end/outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, safety Darren Woodson and wide receivers Torry Holt, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne.

Thomas spent his entire NFL career (2007-17) with the Cleveland Browns. He was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and a six-time All-Pro, and his ironman streak of appearing on 10,363 consecutive snaps is the record since the NFL began tracking the stat in 1999.

Freeney played with the Indianapolis Colts (2002-12), the then-San Diego Chargers (2013-14), the Arizona Cardinals (2015), the Atlanta Falcons (2016), the Detroit Lions (2017) and the Seattle Seahawks (2017). A seven-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro, Freeney was part of Indianapolis’ Super Bowl-winning team in 2006-07. He finished with 125.5 sacks and 47 forced fumbles in 2018 games.

Revis received seven Pro Bowl nods and four All-Pro selections during his career with the New York Jets (2007-12, 2015-16), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013), the New England Patriots (2014) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2017). He had 29 interceptions and 139 passes defensed in 145 games.

The 2023 Hall of Fame enshrinees will be revealed on Feb. 9 ahead of the Super Bowl. Also on the ballot are senior committee finalists Joe Klecko, Chuck Howley and Ken Riley as well as coach/contributor Don Coryell. The induction ceremony is scheduled for August in Canton, Ohio.

–Field Level Media

Dwight Freeney, Ring of Honor recipient, Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019.

Dolphins At Colts

Dwight Freeney, Darrelle Revis headline Pro Football HOF nominees

Darrelle Revis, Dwight Freeney and Joe Thomas headline the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 list of eligible first-year semifinalists.

James Harrison and offensive lineman Jahri Evans round out the five players eligible for the first time since retiring five years ago after the 2017 season.

The five players are among the 28 modern-era semifinalists, pared down from 129 nominees. The list will get pared down to 15 finalists.

Henry Ellard (1998) and London Fletcher (2013) are both semifinalists for the first time. Ellard and Albert Lewis are in their final year of eligibility as modern-era players.

Revis played 11 seasons with four different teams (New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs) from 2007-17. While his career total of 29 interceptions was not eye-popping, the man policed his coverage area known as “Revis Island” where opposing quarterbacks often tried to avoid.

Thomas made Pro Bowls in each of his first 10 seasons from 2007-16 while spending his 11 years with the Cleveland Browns. He did not miss a snap, let alone a start, in any of his first 167 career games until suffering a torn triceps that ended his final campaign in 2017.

Harrison finished with 84.5 sacks and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection.

The full list of semifinalists:

Eric Allen
Jared Allen
Willie Anderson
Ronde Barber
Anquan Boldin
Henry Ellard
Jahri Evans
London Fletcher
Dwight Freeney
James Harrison
Rodney Harrison
Devin Hester
Torry Holt
Andre Johnson
Albert Lewis
Robert Mathis
Darrelle Revis
Steve Smith Sr.
Fred Taylor
Joe Thomas
Zach Thomas
Hines Ward
Ricky Watters
Reggie Wayne
Patrick Willis
Darren Woodson

–Field Level Media

Aug 2, 2019; Canton, OH, USA; Ty Law takes a selfie with Pro Footballl Hall of Fame enshrinees at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Johnson, Joe Thomas among first-time HOF nominees

A group of nine former NFL stars, including five former Super Bowl champions, were announced by the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday as first-time nominees chosen among the initial list of candidates for the Class of 2023.

Included among an overall list of 129 former players who still have a chance to be inducted at the Hall of Fame enshrinement next August are:

Running back Chris Johnson, offensive linemen Jahri Evans and Joe Thomas, defensive lineman Dwight Freeney, linebackers NaVorro Bowman and James Harrison, defensive backs Kam Chancellor and Darrelle Revis, and punter Shane Lechler.

The full list of nominees includes 67 offensive players, 50 defensive players and 12 players who were mainly special teamers.

The next benchmark in the selection process will be in November when the group is whittled down to 25 semifinalists, with 15 finalists revealed in January. The inductees will be selected in early February, in advance of Super Bowl LVII.

The 49-member Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee will also hear cases presented to them during its annual meeting with 15 modern-era candidates and recently named seniors finalists Joe Klecko, Chuck Howley, Ken Riley and Don Coryell.

This year’s first-time candidates include Johnson, who rushed for 9,651 career yards with the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons from 2008-13, including an NFL-high 2,006 in 2009.

Also up for debate by the committee will be the iron man Thomas, who made Pro Bowls in each of his first 10 seasons from 2007-16 while spending his 11 years with the Cleveland Browns. He did not miss a snap, let alone a start, in any of his first 167 career games until suffering a torn triceps that ended his final campaign in 2017.

Longtime shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis played 11 seasons with four different teams (New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs) from 2007-17 like Thomas. While his career total of 29 interceptions was not eye-popping, the man policed his coverage area known as “Revis Island” where opposing quarterbacks often tried to avoid.

During next February’s committee meeting, the final candidates to receive 80 percent of the votes from the panel will earn induction.

–Field Level Media