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Three Former Modern-Era 49ers Named Semifinalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2024

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On Tuesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed its semifinalists for the Class of 2024 with three former members of the San Francisco 49ers being among the prestigious list. Former running back Ricky Watters, wide receiver Anquan Boldin and linebacker Patrick Willis are among the 25 modern-era player semifinalists for the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

Located in Canton, Ohio, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's headquarters opened in 1963. The Hall of Fame enshrines the most outstanding personnel in professional football, including players, coaches, officials, franchise owners and front-office personnel. Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. and Bryant Young are just some of the 49ers honored in the prestigious establishment.

RB Ricky Watters

Watters was a three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XXIX champion as a member of the 49ers. The running back rushed for 2,840 yards and 25 touchdowns in his three-year career in San Francisco and also hauled in 140 receptions for 1,450 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished his career with five total Pro Bowl selections, 10,463 rushing yards, 78 rushing touchdowns, 4,248 receiving yards and 13 receiving touchdowns.

Watters has been a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist four times now, receiving his first nod in 2020 and then in every year from 2022-24.

WR Anquan Boldin

Boldin played 14 seasons in the NFL, three with the 49ers. After being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round of the 2003 NFL draft, Boldin was named the 2003 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was also selected to three Pro Bowls and won Super Bowl XLVII with the Baltimore Ravens. While in San Francisco from 2013-15, Boldin recorded 237 catches for 3,030 yards and 16 touchdowns in 46 games. The wide receiver finished his 14-year career with 1,076 receptions for 13,779 yards and 82 touchdowns.

This is Boldin's third-consecutive time making Pro Football Hall of Fame's list of semifinalists (2022-24).

LB Patrick Willis

The 49ers former first-round pick in the 2007 draft played his entire eight-year career with San Francisco. Willis began his legendary career as the 2007 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2007. The linebacker went on to earn seven trips to the Pro Bowl and was named a six-time All-Pro. Willis finished his career with 950 tackles, 60 tackles for a loss, 41 quarterback hits, 20.5 sacks, eight interceptions, two scores, 53 passes defensed and 16 forced fumbles. He led the league in tackles twice, as a rookie in 2007 and again in 2009. He was also named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2010's, entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019 and was inducted into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame in 2021.

Willis is a semifinalist for the fifth time in five years, reaching the stage every year he's been eligible.

Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2024 Semifinalists:

  • CB Eric Allen – 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2021-24)
  • DE Jared Allen – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2021-24)
  • T Willie Anderson – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2021-24)
  • RB Tiki Barber – 1997-2006 New York Giants | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2024)
  • G Jahri Evans – 2006-2016 New Orleans Saints, 2017 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
  • LB London Fletcher – 1998-2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002-06 Buffalo Bills, 2007-2013 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
  • DE Dwight Freeney – 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)
  • TE Antonio Gates – 2003-2018 San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2024)
  • RB Eddie George – 1996-2003 Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans, 2004 Dallas Cowboys (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022, 2024)
  • LB James Harrison – 2002-2012, 2014-17 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2013 Cincinnati Bengals, 2017 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
  • S Rodney Harrison – 1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-08 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2021, 2023-24)
  • PR/KR/WR Devin Hester – 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
  • WR Torry Holt – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2015-2024)
  • WR Andre Johnson – 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
  • DE/LB Robert Mathis – 2003-2016 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
  • DE Julius Peppers – 2002-09, 2017-18 Carolina Panthers, 2010-13 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Green Bay Packers (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2024)
  • WR Steve Smith Sr. – 2001-2013 Carolina Panthers, 2014-16 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
  • RB Fred Taylor – 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2020-24)
  • WR Hines Ward – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2017-2024)
  • WR Reggie Wayne – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2020-24)
  • DT Vince Wilfork – 2004-2014 New England Patriots, 2015-16 Houston Texans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
  • S Darren Woodson – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2015, 2017, 2019-2024)

The next step in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's annual selection process will be a cutdown to 15 finalists, and then the Hall of Fame class will be announced Feb. 8 during the NFL Honors ceremony. While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the bylaws for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Selection Committee provides that between four and nine new members will be selected.

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