CANTON, OHIO (AP) — First-time candidates John Lynch, Michael Strahan and Jonathan Ogden were among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2013 class announced Friday.
Joining Lynch, Strahan and Ogden among first-year eligible players are Morten Andersen, Larry Allen and Warren Sapp.
Lynch was a star safety for Tampa Bay and Denver over 15 seasons and was considered one of the hardest hitters in the game, as well as a strong coverage defender.
Strahan retired after the Giants won the Super Bowl following the 2007 season with 141 1-2 sacks, including a league-record 22 1-2 in 2001. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in `01 and played 15 seasons for New York.
Ogden was a fixture at left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens from 1996-2007, making the Pro Bowl in all but his rookie season.
Andersen retired in `07 as the NFL’s career scoring leader with 2,544 points. He spent a quarter-century in the league with five teams: New Orleans, Atlanta twice, the Giants, Kansas City and Minnesota.
Only one placekicker, Jan Stenerud, is in the hall.
Allen was a Pro Bowler in 11 of his 14 seasons (12 with Dallas, two with San Francisco), playing both tackle and guard.
Sapp spent nine seasons with Tampa Bay and four with Oakland, making the Pro Bowl seven times, including 1999, when he was Defensive Player of the Year..
Also among those making the cut to 27 are former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Jerome Bettis, Cris Carter and Charles Haley. Senior committee nominees Curley Culp and Dave Robinson automatically make the semifinals and don’t count in the 27.
The field will be reduced to 15 modern era finalists and the two senior nominees in early January. Voting for the inductees will take place Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, in New Orleans.
Inductions will be Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.
FIRST-YEAR ELIGIBLE NOMINEES
Defensive Linemen — Warren Sapp, Michael Strahan
Offensive Linemen– Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden
Placekickers — Morten Andersen
Safeties — John Lynch
Cornerbacks — Albert Lewis, Aeneas Williams (also safety)
Defensive Linemen — Curley Culp
Linebackers — Kevin Greene (also DE), Charles Haley (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Dave Robinson
Offensive Linemen — Joe Jacoby, Will Shields
Running Backs — Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis
Safeties — Steve Atwater
Wide Receivers — Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Andre Reed, Steve Tasker
Coaches — Don Coryell, Bill Parcells
Commissioners — Paul Tagliabue
Contributors — George Young
Owners — Edward DeBartolo Jr., Art Modell
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