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49ers fan-favorite Young one of 15 Hall of Fame finalists

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Defensive tackle Bryant Young was announced Thursday as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Young, who became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2013, was named a Hall of Fame finalist for the second time.

He joins former 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis as one of 15 semifinalists. Both Young and Willis were inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame earlier this season.

Young was a four-time Pro Bowl player who was selected as an NFL All-Decade player for the 1990s. He is the 49ers’ all-time sack leader with 89.5 and was also a dominant player on run defense.

Young was a key contributor to the 49ers’ Super Bowl champion of the 1994 season as a rookie after being selected with the No. 7 overall pick.

He had 9.5 sacks in 12 games of 1998 before sustaining a grisly fractured leg. He registered a career-best 11 sacks in 1999 and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

A group of former rivals came together this month to hold a video conference to show their support for Young’s candidacy into the Hall of Fame: Mark Schlereth, Robbie Tobeck, Adam Timmerman, Jerry Fontenot, Willie Roaf and Kevin Gogan.

Gogan faced Young many times while with the Dallas Cowboys. He later played two seasons with Young as a 49ers teammate.

“I have never done this before, and I won’t do this for anybody I don’t feel fully confident should be in the Hall of Fame,” Gogan said. “There’s not even a doubt in my mind -- not even a doubt.”

RELATED: 49ers legend Young receives Hall support from ex-NFL O-linemen

The Pro Football Hall of Fame cut the list of modern-era candidates from 26 semifinalists to the 15 finalists through a voting of the 49-member selection committee.

A maximum of five modern-era candidates will be inducted into the Hall of Fame’s class of 2022.

The new class, which will be unveiled on Thursday, Feb. 10, could have up to eight new members with five modern-era inductees, along with consideration of senior finalist Cliff Branch, contributor finalist Art McNally and coach finalist Dick Vermeil.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors.

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