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Lynch named Hall of Fame finalist; 49ers' Willis, Young not

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John Lynch at Bucs Ring of Honor ceremony

John Lynch is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist for an eighth consecutive year.

Lynch, currently the 49ers’ general manager, was announced Tuesday among the final 15 of modern-era finalists for the Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

However, two prominent former 49ers players, defensive lineman Bryant Young and linebacker Patrick Willis, did not advance past the semifinalist round.

Young was a finalist last year, but he did not make it beyond the final 25 this year. Willis, a Pro Bowl player in each of his first seven seasons, has not been a finalist in his two years of Hall of Fame eligibility.

The Hall of Fame selection committee is scheduled to meet virtually on Jan. 19 to select the next class of Hall of Famers. Up to five modern-era players, who must receive a minimum of 80 percent of the votes, will be elected.

In addition, coach Tom Flores, contributor Bill Nunn and seniors player Drew Pearson are candidates for induction.

The centennial class of 2020 will be enshrined on Aug. 7, and the ceremony for the Class of 2021 will take place Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.

Lynch was selected to nine Pro Bowls during his 15-year NFL career as a hard-hitting safety with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos. He was credited with 90 or more tackles in a season nine times.

Lynch advanced to the final 10 in the selection process last year.

There are four first-time eligible candidates who advanced to the final 15: quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, defensive end Jared Allen and defensive back Charles Woodson.


Other first-time finalists are cornerback Ronde Barber and linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. It is Matthews’ 20th and final year of eligibility. 

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Here are the 2021 modern-era player finalists with their positions, years and teams:

  • Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
  • Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)
  • LeRoy Butler, Safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
  • Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals
  • Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver – 2007-2015 Detroit Lions
  • John Lynch, Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
  • Peyton Manning, Quarterback – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts (injured reserve 2011), 2012-15 Denver Broncos
  • Clay Matthews Jr., Linebacker – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
  • Sam Mills, Linebacker – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
  • Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
  • Zach Thomas, Linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
  • Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
  • Charles Woodson, Cornerback/Safety – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers

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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