49ers

49ers' Craig, Owens make list of Hall of Fame semifinalists

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AP

49ers' Craig, Owens make list of Hall of Fame semifinalists

Former 49ers standouts Roger Craig and Terrell Owens are among the 26 semifinalists announced Wednesday evening for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Craig, a nine-time semifinalist, is also the only former Raiders player to make the cut from the initial list of 94 nominees.

The next step in the selection process comes in January when the semifinalists are reduced to 15 modern-era finalists. The finalist list increases to 18 finalists with the addition of the nominees in the contributors and seniors categories.

The senior finalist is former Seattle Seahawks safety Kenny Easley, while the contributor finalists are Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

No more than five modern-era finalists can be elected in a given year. Easley, Jones and Tagliabue will be voted on separately. Like all other finalists, each must receive 80 percent vote from the full selection committee at the annual selection meeting on Saturday, February 4, 2017, in Houston, the day before Super Bowl LI.

Four first-year eligible candidates advanced to the semifinal stage: safety Brian Dawkins, defensive end Jason Taylor, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and wide receiver Hines Ward.

Craig was one of the first dual-threat running backs in the NFL. He became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. He ranks No. 44 all-time with 8,189 rushing yards. His teams advanced to the playoffs in each of his 10 NFL seasons.

Owens ranks second all-time in receiving yards (15,934) behind only Jerry Rice. He is seventh in NFL history with 1,078 receptions. His 156 career touchdowns is No. 5 all-time, and third among wide receivers.

The following is the complete list of 2017 modern-era semifinalists, including their positions, years of participation and teams. Also listed are the number of times and years that each individual has been named a semifinalist since this reduction vote was added to the Selection Committee Bylaws in 2004:

--Morten Andersen, K – 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2013-17)
--Steve Atwater , S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2012-17)
--Tony Boselli , T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2016-17)
--Isaac Bruce , WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
--Don Coryell , Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 – 2005, 2010-17)
--Roger Craig , RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 – 2009-17)
--Terrell Davis , RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 11 – 2007-2017)
--Brian Dawkins , S, 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
--Alan Faneca , G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2016-17)
--Chris Hinton , G/T – 1983-89 Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, 1990-93 Atlanta Falcons, 1994-95 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
--Torry Holt , WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
--Joe Jacoby , T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2005, 2008, 2013-17)
--Edgerrin James , RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
--Jimmy Johnson , Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2014-17)
--Mike Kenn , T – 1978-1994 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
--Ty Law , CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
--John Lynch , FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2013-17)
--Clay Matthews , LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2012, 2017)
--Kevin Mawae , C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
--Karl Mecklenburg , LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2012-17)
--Terrell Owens , WR – 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2016-17)
--Jason Taylor , DE – 1997-2007, 2009, 2011 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Washington Redskins, 2010 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
--LaDainian Tomlinson , RB – 2001-09 San Diego Chargers, 2010-11 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
--Hines Ward , WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
--Kurt Warner , QB – 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
--Darren Woodson , S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015, 2017)

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

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USATSI

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

UPDATED: The 49ers announced Monday morning that Joe Staley has accepted a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team. He will replace Dallas offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

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Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.

Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the all-star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.

Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.

“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.

“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”

Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced last month.

Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

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USATSI

Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

BOX SCORE

PHILADELPHIA -- Hey Philly, maybe it's time to forget Carson Wentz. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.

Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.

Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles' first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then, AFC champion New England.

Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.

His best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.

In doing so - helped greatly by the Eagles' domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson - Foles ruined the Vikings' hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium

Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.

OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia's defense looked confused on the play.

That didn't happen again for Philly.

Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson's 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.

Inspired, Philly's D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.

Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.

It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.

A blown coverage - another rarity for Minnesota - on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Elliott's 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.

DANCING IN THE LINC: Fifty seconds into the final quarter, with the score 38-7, Eagles players on the sideline and waiting to kick off on the field were dancing up a storm and fans were chanting "We want Brady."

They get Tom Brady and company in two weeks.

BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.

QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott's field goal to end the half.

THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league's best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.

NEXT UP: Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.

With the entire stadium singing "Fly Eagles Fly" during the NFC trophy ceremony, Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4