A strong three-man class of first-time eligibles, and all five men who just missed the cut last year headline the list of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced tonight.
That group will be narrowed down to no more than five modern-era finalists, in voting conducted the day before the Super Bowl.
The first-timers are led by running back LaDainian Tomlinson, defensive end Jason Taylor, and safety Brian Dawkins, who entered an already solid group of candidates.
Last year’s finalists who were reduced to the final 10 but just missed selection in 2016 all return to this year’s ballot: Coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, tackle Joe Jacoby, safety John Lynch, and quarterback Kurt Warner.
Three of last year’s 15 finalists also return to the room: Wide receiver Terrell Owens, kicker Morten Andersen and guard Alan Faneca.
They will be joined by tackle Tony Boselli, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, cornerback Ty Law and guard Kevin Mawae, who made the final 15 for the first time.
Those modern finalists will be joined on the ballot by senior finalist Kenny Easley and contributors Paul Tagliabue and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who are voted on separately, and need to receive 80 percent of a yes-no vote for induction.
The group of modern-era finalists were selected from a group of 26 semifinalists, with safety Steve Atwater, running back Edgerrin James, wide receiver Hines Ward, running back Roger Craig, tackle Chris Hinton, wide receiver Torry Holt, coach Jimmy Johnson, tackle Mike Kenn, linebacker Clay Matthews, linebacker Karl Mecklenburg and safety Darren Woodson missing the cut this year.