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2 Prominent Patriots Make Pro Football Hall of Fame Semifinal List

Both Vince Wilfork and Rodney Harrison have previously been inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

FOXBORO — The New England Patriots 'Dynasty-Era’ is becoming well-recognized at the highest level of honor in professional football.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday its list of 28 modern-era semifinalists for the class of 2023

Among the nominees were former Patriots’ safety Rodney Harrison, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Hall Call for Harrison?

Throughout his NFL career, Rodney Harrison was one of the most fearsome strong safeties in the NFL. After spending the first nine of his 15 seasons with the San Diego Chargers, Harrison joined the Patriots in 2003. He was a key component in a Pats defense that won back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 2003 and 2004 (XXXVIII, XXXIX). Perhaps his most memorable moment as a Patriot was his game-sealing interception in Super Bowl XXXIX that ended the last drive of the Philadelphia Eagles. Harrison’s leadership abilities were evident in his being selected as a team captain in each of his six seasons with the Pats.

Harrison was a two-time Pro-Bowler and a two-time First team All-Pro. He holds the distinction of being the first player in NFL history to score touchdowns on an interception return, fumble return and kickoff return in the same season (which he accomplished in 1997 as a member of the Chargers.) As a Patriot, Harrison shined his brightest in the postseason. In the 2004-2005 NFL Playoffs, he had four interceptions in three games. His seven playoff interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown) are a Patriots team record.

On October 21, 2007, Harrison became the initial member of the 30/30 Club of players with both 30 interceptions and 30 sacks (a distinction held only by him and NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis). He finished his career in 2009 with 1,205 tackles, 34 interceptions and 11 forced fumbles. Harrison has the most sacks (30.5) of any defensive back in NFL history.

Upon his retirement, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick called Harrison “one of the best players” he has ever coached. He was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2019.

Vouch for Vince?

Wilfork was the 21st overall selection by the Patriots in the 2004 NFL Draft. ‘Big Vince’ played 11 seasons with New England after having played his collegiate football for the University of Miami. Wilfork helped the Patriots to two Super Bowl victories, while earning five Pro Bowl selections, four combined All-Pro selections and a place on the franchise’s 50th anniversary roster. He had served as a seven-time team captain during his New England tenure.

Despite taking his final snaps in a Houston Texans’ uniform, Wilfork signed a one-day contract in August 2017 to retire a Patriot. He started 148 games across his regular seasons. In the process, 517 tackles, 16 sacks, five forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, three interceptions and a touchdown were accrued. As such, Wilfork is considered to be one of the best defensive tackles in NFL history. 2022 marks his second year of Hall eligibility. In September, Wilfork was honored as the 32nd inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Revis Island In His First Year?

Despite playing only one season in New England, Revis made his time with the Patriots memorable. He signed a free agent deal in New England in 2014, after one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After helping the team to its victory in Super BowL XLIX; Revis left to return to New York, with whom he spent eight of his 11 pro seasons.

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Revis was named to seven Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro seven times. Due to his prowess and ability to shut down the best receiver of opposing teams, his spot on the field was nicknamed "Revis Island", which he would trademark. In 2020, Revis was named to the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team. He finished his career with 497 total tackles, 139 passes-defensed, 29 interceptions, six forced fumbles and three defensive touchdowns.

Additional Patriots Ties:

Longtime Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor spent the final two of his 13 NFL seasons in New England; appearing in 14 games and 425 rushing yards.

Former Los Angeles Rams and Washington receiver Henry Ellard was in town for half a season in 1998, catching five passes for 86 yards in the final season of his career.

Ex-Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman James Harrison appeared in four games for the Patriots in 2017.

Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne each spent portions of training camp and preseason with New England. However, neither of them played a single down of regular season, or playoff football for the organization.

The list will be reduced to 15 finalists in January 2023, before a group of four to eight enshrinees will be announced prior Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, Feb. 12. 

Follow Mike D’Abate on Twitter @mdabateNFL and Listen/Subscribe to his daily podcast: Locked On Patriots

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