Parcells, Bettis, Martin among 26 semifinalists for Pro Football Hall
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced 26 semfinalists for the Class of 2012
The list will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists and announced in early January
CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Former coach Bill Parcells, running backs Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin and NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue are among 26 modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The list was announced Tuesday by the Hall of Fame following a vote by its selection committee, which chose the group from a list of 105 preliminary nominees.
Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields is the only first-year eligible player to make the list. Parcells also is considered a first-year candidate under new requirements that were put in place in 2008, after he had been a nominee in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
The new rule makes it mandatory for coaches, like players, to be retired for five consecutive seasons. Before that, coaches were eligible immediately upon retirement. Parcells won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants in 1987 and 1991, then coached the Patriots and Jets before retiring in 1999. He returned to coach the Cowboys in 2003.
Bettis ranks fifth on the NFL rushing list with 13,662 yards in 13 seasons, three for the Rams and a decade with the Steelers, with whom he won the 2006 Super Bowl in his final game. Martin ranks fourth with 14,101 yards with the Patriots and Jets from 1995-2005.
In addition to Parcells, the other semifinalist coach is Don Coryell, who led the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers.
Defensive semifinalists include DBs Steve Atwater, Donnie Shell and Aeneas Williams, DEs/LBs Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene and Charles Haley, LBs Clay Matthews and Karl Mecklenburg and DT Cortez Kennedy.
The others are running backs Roger Craig and Terrell Davis, center Dermontti Dawson, tackle Willie Roaf, special teams/WR Steve Tasker and contributor George Young, who worked for the Baltimore Colts, Dolphins, Giants and in the NFL office.
Four previously eligible candidates made it to the semifinals for the first time: Atwater, Matthews, Mecklenburg and contributor Ron Wolf, who worked for the Raiders, Buccaneers, Jets and Packers.
The group of semifinalists will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists and announced in early January. The final list of candidates also will include two senior nominees: former Steelers defensive back Jack Butler and former Lions guard Dick Stanfel.
Between four and seven enshrinees will be announced the day before the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, and inducted in August.
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