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Lynch, Young, Willis named '21 Hall of Fame semifinalists

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San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and all-time franchise greats Bryant Young and Patrick Willis were announced Tuesday as semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

Lynch, Young and Willis are among a group of 25 modern-era semifinalists to emerge out of the original list of 130 nominees.

The list of semifinalists includes first-year eligible players Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Calvin Johnson and Jared Alllen.

There are also four first-time semifinalists who have been previously eligible: Eric Allen, Willie Anderson, Cornelius Bennett and Rodney Harrison.

The next step in the selection process comes when the list of semifinalists is reduced to 15 modern-era finalists. The list of total finalists will be 18, including coach, contributor and seniors nominees Tom Flores, Bill Nunn and Drew Pearson.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 will be determined and announced during the week leading up to Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida. There is no set number for any class of enshrinees, but the bylaws for the selection committee provide from four to eight new members will be selected.

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Lynch, a nine-time semifinalist, is considered one of the favorites after advancing to the list of finalists seven consecutive years. Lynch played 15 NFL seasons as a safety with Tampa Bay and Denver. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time All-Pro choice.

Young was a first-time finalist last year. A dominant defensive tackle who is the 49ers’ all-time sack leader, Young was named to four Pro Bowls and was an NFL All-Decade choice for the 1990s.

 

Willis has now been a semifinalist in both of his two years of eligibility, but he did not advance to the list of finalists last year. He played just eight NFL seasons and was a Pro Bowl selection for his first seven years. He was a five-time All-Pro selection.

Class of ’21 semifinalists

  • Eric Allen, CB – 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2021)

  • Jared Allen, DE – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2021)

  • Willie Anderson, T – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2021)
  • Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2018-2021)
  • Cornelius Bennett, LB – 1987-1995 Buffalo Bills, 1996-98 Atlanta Falcons, 1999-2000 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2021)
  • Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2016-2021)
  • LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2018-2021)
  • Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2016-2021)
  • Rodney Harrison, S – 1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-08 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2021)
  • Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2015-2021)
  • Calvin Johnson, WR – 2007-2015 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2021)
  • John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 – 2013-2021)
  • Peyton Manning, QB – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts (injured reserved 2011), 2012-15 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2021)
  • Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2012, 2017, 2019-2021)
  • Sam Mills, LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2016, 2019-2021)
  • Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2018-2021)
  • Steve Tasker, ST/WR – 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2004, 2008-2010, 2012-13, 2020-21)
  • Fred Taylor, RB – 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2020-21)
  • Zach Thomas, LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2019-2021)
  • Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2017-2021)
  • Reggie Wayne, WR – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2020-21)
  • Patrick Willis, LB – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2020-21)
  • Charles Woodson, CB/S – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2021)
  • Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015, 2017, 2019-2021)
  • Bryant Young, DT – 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2020-21)

Editor’s note: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors.

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