Hines Ward, Devin Hester among 26 modern-era semifinalists for Hall of Fame’s 2022 induction class

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For a sixth straight year, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has made the cut as a semifinalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ward is one of 26 modern-era players who made the cut for possible induction into the Hall of Fame in 2022. 

The 26 players were selected from a group of 123 nominees that were announced in September. The list will be whittled down to 15 finalists before the selection committee votes on next year’s induction class the week of Super Bowl LVI. The 2022 Hall of Fame induction class will be announced Feb. 10 at 9 p.m. ET. Along with the modern-era finalists, the selection committee will vote on the careers of senior nominee Cliff Branch, coach Dick Vermeil and contributor Art McNally. The Hall of Fame’s 2022 enshrinement week will take place from Aug. 4-8 in Canton, Ohio. 

Devin Hester, the Chicago Bears’ prolific punt and kickoff returner who is responsible for the fastest scored touchdown in Super Bowl history, is one of seven nominees who are eligible for induction for the first time. Players must be retired for at least five years before they are eligible to receive consideration for induction into the Hall of Fame. 

Here is a look at each of the 26 modern-era finalists:

  • CB Eric Allen (Eagles, Saints, Raiders): 1998-01 
  • DE Jared Allen (Chiefs, Vikings, Bears, Panthers): 2004-15 
  • OT Willie Anderson (Bengals, Ravens): 1996-08
  • DB Ronde Barber (Buccaneers): 1997-12 
  • WR Anquan Boldin* (Cardinals, Ravens, 49ers, Lions): 2003-16
  • OT Tony Boselli (Jaguars): 1995-01
  • S LeRoy Butler (Packers): 1990-01
  • RB Eddie George (Oilers/Titans, Cowboys): 1996-04
  • WR/PR/KR Devin Hester* (Bears, Falcons, Ravens): 2006-16
  • WR Torry Holt (Rams, Jaguars): 1998-09
  • WR Andre Johnson* (Texans, Colts, Titans): 2003-16
  • DE/LB Robert Mathis* (Colts): 2003-16
  • LB Sam Mills (Saints, Panthers): 1986-97
  • DE/DT Richard Seymour (Patriots, Raiders): 2001-12
  • WR Steve Smith* (Panthers, Ravens): 2001-16
  • ST/WR Steve Tasker (Oilers, Bills): 1985-97
  • RB Fred Taylor (Jaguars, Patriots): 1998-10 
  • LB Zach Thomas (Dolphins, Cowboys): 1996-08
  • WR Hines Ward (Steelers): 1998-11
  • LB/DE DeMarcus Ware* (Cowboys, Broncos): 2005-16
  • RB Ricky Watters (49ers, Eagles, Seahawks): 1992-01
  • WR Reggie Wayne (Colts): 2001-14
  • DT Vince Wilfork* (Patriots, Texans): 2004-16
  • LB Patrick Willis (49ers): 2007-14
  • S Darren Woodson (Cowboys): 1992-03
  • DT Bryant Young (49ers): 1994-07 

*Denotes first-year eligible players

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