Five former San Francisco 49ers including Jerry Rice and Roger Craig are among the 15 modern-era finalists up for election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010.
The other semifinalists include former defensive ends Charles Haley (1992-96) and Richard Dent (1994) as well as linebacker Rickey Jackson (1994-95).
Rice, Dent and Jackson were members of the 49ers Super Bowl XXIX Championship team.
The five are hopeful to join 12 other 49ers Hall of Fame members including Fred Dean, Jimmy Johnson, Ronnie Lott, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Montana, Leo Nomellini, Joe Perry, Bob St. Clair, Y.A. Tittle, Bill Walsh, Dave Wilcox, and Steve Young.
Rice was one of three first-year eligible players to get the nod, a list that included other prominent players of Rice's era like Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown and Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith.
The 15 candidates up for election into Canton will know their fates when the Hall's Selection Committee meets in South Florida on Saturday, February 6, 2010 to determine the 2010 Hall of Fame Class.
In addition to the three first-year eligible players, there are 11 other modern-era players and a longtime head coach up for election. The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees announced back in August 2009 (former Detroit Lions cornerback Dick LeBeau and former Denver Broncos running back Floyd Little) will be the only ones considered for election when the 44-member Selection Committee meets before Super Bowl XLIV.
To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
Here's the official list of the Committee's 17 finalists in alphabetical order (15 Modern-Era and two Senior Nominees*) with their positions, teams, and years active follow:
Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Don Coryell – Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers.
Roger Craig – Running Back – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings.
Dermonti Dawson – Center – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Russ Grimm – Guard – 1981-1991 Washington Redskins.
Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys.
Rickey Jackson – Linebacker – 1981-1993 New Orleans Saints, 1994-95 San Francisco 49ers.
Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks.
Dick LeBeau* – Cornerback – 1959-1972 Detroit Lions.
Floyd Little* – Running Back – 1967-1975 Denver Broncos.
John Randle – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks.
Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins.
Jerry Rice – Wide Receiver – 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Seattle Seahawks.
Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens.
Emmitt Smith – Running Back – 1990-2002 Dallas Cowboys, 2003-04 Arizona Cardinals.
Carter, Dawson, Dent, Grimm, Kennedy, Randle, Reed, and Sharpe have all been finalists in previous years. Although they were eligible in previous years, this is the first time Coryell, Craig, Haley, Jackson, Little, and LeBeau have been finalists.
The Selection Committee will meet in South Florida, on Saturday, February 6, 2010, to elect the Hall of Fame Class of 2010.The election results will be announced at 5 p.m. ET during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Broward County Convention Center.
In a new twist, for the first time ever, fans are encouraged to vote for their choices for the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Van Heusen Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan’s Choice.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation and JC Penney Company have teamed to provide the first-ever dedicated forum for fans to debate, discuss and voice their choice by voting for the Hall of Fame Enshrinee Class of 2010.