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2010 football HOF semifinalists announced

BASN Wire Services | 12/4/2009, 6:20 p.m.

Brown, Rice, Smith and Williams are first-year eligibles

CANTON, Ohio -- Four first-year eligible players Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Aeneas Williams, are among the 25 semifinalists being considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame€s Class of 2010.

The Hall of Fame€s Selection Committee chose the 25 semifinalists from the list of 131 preliminary nominees. Also, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has teamed up with Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation's Van Heusen brand and J.C. Penney, Inc. to ask fans, for the first time ever, to voice their choice for whom they think should be included into the Pro Football Hall of Fame€s Class of 2010.Other than the four first-year eligible nominees, each of the remaining 21 nominees on the Hall of Fame€s Selection Committee€s list of nominees has been a semifinalist at least once prior to this year. The list of 25 includes a coach, Don Coryell, and two contributors, Art Modell and Paul Tagliabue.

The complete list of 25 modern-era semifinalists is as follows:

Cliff Branch, WR €" 1972-1985 Raiders
Tim Brown, WR/KR €" 1988-2003 Raiders, 2004 Buccaneers
Cris Carter, WR €" 1987-89 Eagles, 1990-2001 Vikings, 2002 Dolphins
Don Coryell, Coach €" 1973-77 Cardinals, 1978-1986 Chargers
Roger Craig, RB €" 1983-1990 49ers, 1991 Raiders, 1992-93 Vikings

Terrell Davis, RB €" 1995-2001 Broncos
Dermontti Dawson, C €" 1988-2000 Steelers
Richard Dent, DE €" 1983-1993, 1995 Bears, 1994 49ers, 1996 Colts, 1997 Eagles
Chris Doleman, DE/LB €" 1985-1993, 1999 Vikings, 1994-95 Falcons, 1996-98 49ers
Kevin Greene, LB/DE €" 1985-1992 Rams, 1993-95 Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Panthers, 1997 49ers

Russ Grimm, G €" 1981-1991 Redskins
Ray Guy, P €" 1973-1986 Raiders
Charles Haley, DE/LB €" 1986-1991, 1999 49ers, 1992-96 Cowboys
Lester Hayes, CB €" 1977-1986 Raiders
Rickey Jackson, LB €" 1981-1993 Saints, 1994-95 49ers

Cortez Kennedy, DT €" 1990-2000 Seahawks
Art Modell, Owner €" 1961-1995 Browns, 1996-2003 Ravens
John Randle, DT €" 1990-2000 Vikings, 2001-03 Seahawks
Andre Reed, WR €" 1985-1999 Bills, 2000 Redskins
Jerry Rice, WR €" 1985-2000 49ers, 2001-04 Raiders, 2004 Seahawks

Shannon Sharpe, TE €" 1990-99, 2002-03 Broncos, 2000-01 Ravens
Emmitt Smith, RB €" 1990-2002 Cowboys, 2003-04 Cardinals
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner €" 1989-2006 National Football League
Steve Tasker, Special Teams/WR €" 1985-86 Oilers, 1986-1997 Bills
Aeneas Williams, CB/S €" 1991-2000 Cardinals, 2001-04 Rams

The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era candidates. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame€s Seniors Committee.

The Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little. LeBeau played 14 seasons (1959-1972) at cornerback for the Detroit Lions. Little, a running back played nine seasons (1967-1975) for the Denver Broncos.

The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced on January 7, 2010. To be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated player or coach must have been retired at least five years.

A contributor, who is a nominee who has made outstanding contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing and coaching, may still be active in his pro football career.

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.

No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven enshrinees can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected.

The Class of 2010 will be determined at the Selection Committee's annual meeting on Saturday, February 6, in South Florida the day before Super Bowl XLIV. The election results will be announced at 5 p.m. ET during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl media headquarters.

For the first time, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has teamed up with Van Heusen to ask fans to voice their choice for whom they think should be included into the Pro Football Hall of Fame€s Class of 2010.

The Van Heusen Fan€s Choice campaign which launched in September, mirrors the Hall of Fame€s selection process and will name the first-ever Fan€s Choice Class live on the NFL Network just prior to the official announcement from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After the first cut-down and more than 220,000 votes, the Van Heusen Fan€s Choice Top 25 list includes 14 candidates who also appear on the official Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee list including: Cliff Branch, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Richard Dent, Kevin Greene, Ray Guy, Charles Haley, Lester Hayes, John Randle, Andre Reed, Jerry Rice, Shannon Sharpe, Emmitt Smith, and Steve Tasker.

Others making the Van Heusen Fan€s Choice Top 25 list who didn€t make the official Hall of Fame Selection Committee list include an athletic trainer, Otho Davis; a game official, Jim Tunney; a coach, Tom Flores; as well as former players Steve Atwater, Todd Christensen, Randall Cunningham, Ed €Too Tall€ Jones, Jim Plunkett, Sterling Sharpe, Phil Simms, and Joe Theismann.