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.
Here is a look at each of the 26 modern-era finalists:
*Denotes first-year eligible players
CB Eric Allen (Eagles, Saints, Raiders): 1998-01 DE Jared Allen (Chiefs, Vikings, Bears, Panthers): 2004-15 OT Willie Anderson (Bengals, Ravens): 1996-08DB Ronde Barber (Buccaneers): 1997-02 WR Anquan Boldin* (Cardinals, Ravens, 49ers, Lions): 2003-16OT Tony Boselli (Jaguars): 1995-01S LeRoy Butler (Packers): 1990-01RB Eddie George (Oilers/Titans, Cowboys): 1996-04WR/PR/KR Devin Hester* (Bears, Falcons, Ravens): 2006-16WR Torry Holt (Rams, Jaguars): 1998-09WR Andre Johnson* (Texans, Colts, Titans): 2003-16DE/LB Robert Mathis* (Colts): 2003-16LB Sam Mills (Saints, Panthers): 1986-97DE/DT Richard Seymour (Patriots, Raiders): 2001-12WR Steve Smith* (Panthers, Ravens): 2001-16ST/WR Steve Tasker (Oilers, Bills): 1985-97RB Fred Taylor (Jaguars, Patriots): 1998-10 LB Zach Thomas (Dolphins, Cowboys): 1996-08WR Hines Ward (Steelers): 1998-11LB/DE DeMarcus Ware* (Cowboys, Broncos): 2005-16RB Ricky Watters (49ers, Eagles, Seahawks): 1992-01WR Reggie Wayne (Colts): 2001-14DT Vince Wilfork* (Patriots, Texans): 2004-16LB Patrick Willis (49ers): 2007-14S Darren Woodson (Cowboys): 1992-03DT Bryant Young (49ers): 1994-07
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.
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.