Terrell Owens

Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists

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AP

Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Former 49ers running back Roger Craig, in his final year on the modern-era ballot, is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the 10th consecutive year.

Craig is among 27 semifinalists announced for the Class of 2018. The list includes six first-year eligible candidates and four other players who have been eligible previously but are semifinalists for the first time.

Wide receiver Terrell Owens and safety John Lynch, currently 49ers general manager, are among the return semifinalists. Lynch was among the final 10 players last year, while Owens made it to the top 15.

The list of first-year eligible semifinalists includes wide receiver Randy Moss, defensive back Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

The four previously-eligible players who are semifinalists for the first time are safety LeRoy Butler, defensive ends Leslie O’Neal and Simeon Rice, and cornerback Everson Walls.

In January, the list of modern-era candidates will be trimmed to 15 individuals. There will be a total of 18 finalists, including contributor finalist Bobby Beathard and seniors finalists Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer. Hall of Fame rules stipulate from four to eight new members will be selected every year.

Beathard, Brazile and Kramer will be voted on separately and, like all other finalists, must receive 80-percent approval from the full selection committee at the annual selection meeting on Feb. 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, the day before Super Bowl LII.

Craig's teams made it to the playoffs in each of his 11 NFL seasons, including his first eight years with the 49ers. In 1985, he became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.

Owens, who played his first eight seasons with the 49ers, was a first-team All-Pro performer six times. He ranks second all-time in receiving yards (15,934) and third with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Lynch, a hard-hitting safety with Tampa Bay and Denver, was selected to nine Pro Bowls in his 15-year career. He recorded 26 interceptions, forced 16 fumbles and recovered nine in his career.

2018 MODERN-ERA SEMIFINALISTS
Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2005, 2010-18)
Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2009-18)
Brian Dawkins, S – 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)
Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Steve Hutchinson, G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2005, 2008, 2013-18)
Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2014-18)
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: 4 – 2015-18)
Ray Lewis, LB – 1996-2012 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2013-18)
Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Randy Moss, WR – 1998-2004, 2010 Minnesota Vikings, 2005-06 Oakland Raiders, 2007-2010 New England Patriots, 2010 Tennessee Titans, 2012 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Leslie O'Neal, DE – 1986, 1988-1995 San Diego Chargers, 1996-1997 St. Louis Rams, 1998-1999 Kansas City Chiefs | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
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: 3 – 2016-18)
Simeon Rice, DE – 1996-2000 Arizona Cardinals, 2001-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2007 Denver Broncos, 2007 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Brian Urlacher, LB – 2000-2012 Chicago Bears | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Everson Walls, CB – 1981-89 Dallas Cowboys, 1990-92 New York Giants, 1992-93 Cleveland Browns | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is one of 48 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

HOF voter James Lofton: Terrell Owens Hall-of-Fame worthy

HOF voter James Lofton: Terrell Owens Hall-of-Fame worthy

James Lofton is one of two members of the Pro Football Hall of Famers who had a Hall-of-Fame vote on Saturday in Houston.

Dan Fouts seemed to publicly express reservations this week about selecting wide receiver Terrell Owens. He said Owens received a "fair evaluation." But Lofton, a former wide receiver, stated exactly where he stands in the debate during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show.

“When Terrell Owens came up, his presenter came up,” said Lofton, referring to CSNBayArea’s Matt Maiocco, who made the opening statements in support of Owens for the Hall of Fame to the 48-member Board of Selectors.

“And I may have been the second person to chime in. I looked at what happened on that 100 by 53 1/3-yard field. And what I saw was pretty special. What I saw was Hall-of-Fame worthy.

“The thing I’m concerned about with Terrell Owens is that, is he being treated like these who used steroids in baseball. And I don’t think that should be the case at all.”

Owens, who ranked second in NFL history in receiving yards and third all-time in touchdown receptions, did not even make it past the initial round of voting on Saturday with the cut from 15 to 10 finalists. A maximum of five modern-era finalists can be selected every year.

“I had 75 touchdowns during the course of my career,” Lofton said. “The guy that we didn’t let in had 153. I can look at all of T.O.’s other numbers, but I had a hard time with that.

“Here’s a guy that I looked at, and what he did on the football field, I just thought was phenomenal. And from a person who did the same thing and really appreciates the position, I’m at a loss for words.”

One of the arguments against Owens is that he played for five different teams in his career.

“Jerry Rice was also on multiple teams,” Lofton said. “Other guys were on multiple teams. And if you’re cut or traded, it means the next person wants you.”

Rice played on three teams in the final five seasons of his career. Lofton played on five teams in his 16-year career.

Fouts: Owens received fair evaluation of his career with HOF voting

Fouts: Owens received fair evaluation of his career with HOF voting

Programming note: Watch the John Lynch-Kyle Shanahan introductory press conference on Thursday at 1pm on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts was a Hall of Fame voter for the first time on Saturday in Houston.

Fouts said on a radio interview on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone that he presented the room with the results of a poll in which he sought input from Hall of Famers.

“The feedback I got was strong, it was passionate and it was interesting,” said Fouts, who now works in the media for CBS Sports.

Fouts was asked about the discussion of wide receiver Terrell Owens, who was a finalist in his second year of eligibility and was not elected into the Hall of Fame.

“I think he did receive a fair evaluation of his career, both pros and cons,” Fouts said. “But, obviously, ripping the Hall of Fame and the process, what good is that going to do? I just don’t understand that. But I didn’t understand a lot of things he did in his career.”

Shortly after he received word from a Hall of Fame representative that he did not receive the necessary votes to be part of the Class of 2017, Owens tweeted, “HOF is a total joke. Honestly, doesn’t mean anything to me to get in beyond this point.”

When asked what his stance was on Owens, Fouts spoke about the dilemma he faced as a voter.

“I think his numbers are very worthy,” Fouts answered. “But, again, on the other side of it, I think his actions on and off the field, on the sideline, in the locker room, and the fact that he played for so many teams. He was such a great player, the question always comes back to, if he was so great, why would those teams get rid of him? And I think we all know the answers.”

Fouts and Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton of Westwood One were added this season to the 48-member Board of Selectors.