The NFL's modern-era player finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2020 were announced Thursday evening. Safety Troy Polamalu and wide receiver Reggie Wayne highlight the list of first timers included on the list, while safety and current 49ers GM John Lynch is among the notable returners.
The 15 finalists will be considered for election to the Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets in Miami the day before Super Bowl LIV. The full committee will elect five modern-era players, who must receive a minimum positive vote of 80% from the committee.
The NFL's full class of recipients will be introduced during NFL Honors, the league's two-hour awards special to air nationally on the eve of the game.
The finalists are as followed:
- Troy Polamalu, Safety – 2003-2014 Pittsburgh Steelers, (First finalist appearance) — Polamalu was First-Team All-Pro four times and Second-Team twice. The eight-time Pro Bowler was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, helping Pittsburgh reach seven postseasons and two Super Bowls during his tenure.
- Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts (1) — Wayne retired as the NFL's second all-time leading receiver in the postseason, and at one point in his career, made six Pro Bowls in a seven-year span. He helped the Colts reach the playoffs every year but two during his career, catching 100 passes in a season four different times.
- John Lynch, Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos (7) — Drafted in the third round of the 1993 NFL draft, Lynch helped Tampa Bay's defense become one of the best in the NFL. He was voted to nine Pro Bowls, earning First-Team All-Pro honors three straight years (1999-2001) while helping the Buccaneers win their first Super Bowl title in 2002.
- ·Steve Atwater, Safety – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets (3) — At one point in his career, Atwater made eight Pro Bowls in a nine-year span. Noted for his hard-hitting and strong tackling, the Broncos' safety started in four AFC Championship games and three Super Bowls, helping Denver defeat Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII and Atlanta in Super Bowl XXXIII.
- Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars (4) — Boselli was voted to five straight Pro Bowls and was First-Team All-Pro for three straight seasons before suffering a severe shoulder injury that ultimately ended his career.
Isaac Bruce, Wide Receiver – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers (4) — Bruce was voted to four Pro Bowls, finishing his career with 12 seasons of 50 or more catches and eight seasons with 1,000 yards. At the time he retired, he finished his career with the second-most receiving yards in NFL history.
- LeRoy Butler, Safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers (1) — Butler made four Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro four times as well. He started at strong safety for three straight NFL Championship game appearances for the Packers and had seven tackles and one sack in Green Bay's Super Bowl XXXI win.
- Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars (6) — Holt was voted to seven Pro Bowls throughout his career, leading the Rams in receptions for seven straight seasons between 2002 and 2008.
Steve Hutchinson, Guard – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans (3) — Hutchinson emerged as one of football's best guards, being named All-Pro six times and making seven consecutive Pro Bowls. He was twice chosen as NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals (5) — Missing just one game in his career, Faneca was named First-Team All-Pro six times and Second Team twice. He was selected to nine straight Pro Bowls, blocking for nine 1,000-yard rushers.
- Edgerrin James, Running Back – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks (4) — James captured the NFL's rushing titles during his first two seasons, winning the NFL's Rookie of the Year award in 1999. He was selected to four Pro Bowls and made All-Pro three times.
Sam Mills, Linebacker – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers (1) — Mills played three seasons in the USFL before the league folded and he joined the Saints. He earned his first Pro Bowl nod in his second season and was selected as an All-Pro three times throughout his career.
- Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders (2) — A key member of the Patriots' defense that won six straight titles throughout the 2000s, Seymour played in four Super Bowls with New England. He was voted to seven Pro Bowls and selected All-Pro five times.
Zach Thomas, Linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys (1) — Thomas made an immediate and constant impact on the Dolphins, winning AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1996. He was First-Team All-Pro five times and voted to seven Pro Bowls, making 168 starts on Miami's defense, the most-ever by a Dolphins defensive player.
- Bryant Young, Defensive Tackle – 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers (1) — Young was voted to four Pro Bowls throughout his NFL career, earning NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1999. He was First-Team All-Pro twice, amassing 89.5 sacks throughout his decade-plus career.