Hester, Seymour and Young named finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Devin Hester pays tribute to Deion Sanders as he avoids a tackle attempt by punter Michael Koenen on his way to returning a punt for a touchdown during a game Sept. 18, 2014, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

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Devin Hester pays tribute to Deion Sanders as he avoids a tackle attempt by punter Michael Koenen on his way to returning a punt for a touchdown during a game Sept. 18, 2014, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Returner Devin Hester, a first-year eligible player who played for the Falcons from 2014-15, defensive lineman Richard Seymour, who played at Georgia, and Bryant Young, a former Falcons assistant, were named modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 on Thursday.

Wide receiver Hines Ward, who also played at Georgia and at Forest Park High, and defensive end Robert Mathis (McNair High) were semifinalists.

Defensive end DeMarcus Ware and offensive tackle Willie Anderson were the only other first-year-eligible players who were voted as finalists.

Here’s the full list of finalists:

· Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-13 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers

· Willie Anderson, Offensive Tackle – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens

· Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

· Tony Boselli, Offensive Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)

· LeRoy Butler, Safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers

· Devin Hester, Punt Returner/Kick Returner/Wide Receiver – 2006-13 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens

· Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars

· Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver – 2003-14 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans

· Sam Mills, Linebacker – 1986-94 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers

· Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-12 Oakland Raiders

· Zach Thomas, Linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys

· DeMarcus Ware, Linebacker/Defensive End – 2005-13 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-16 Denver Broncos

· Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-14 Indianapolis Colts

· Patrick Willis, Linebacker – 2007-14 San Francisco 49ers

· Bryant Young, Defensive Tackle/Defensive End – 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers

The full slate of modern-era player candidates will be considered when the Hall of Fame’s selection committee meets virtually Jan. 18.

The selection committee may elect up to five modern-era players for the Class of 2022; each must receive a minimum positive vote of 80% for election. Three others — Dick Vermeil, Art McNally and Cliff Branch, the finalists in the coach, contributor and senior categories, respectively — also are candidates for the Class of 2022. Voting on each of those three will be held individually, in conjunction with the meeting to decide the modern-era players.

The modern-era player finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s selection committee from a list of 123 nominees named in September that was reduced to 26 Semifinalists on Nov. 24.

The Class of 2022 will be named in advance of Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. The class will be announced live on the “NFL Honors” telecast scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Feb. 10.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 will be enshrined in August (anticipated date: Aug. 6) in Canton as part of the 2022 Enshrinement Week.

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Richard Seymour (left) and Marcus Stroud led Georgia's defense in 2000.

Credit: T. LEVETTE BAGWELL

Richard Seymour (left) and Marcus Stroud led Georgia's defense in 2000.

Credit: T. LEVETTE BAGWELL

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Richard Seymour (left) and Marcus Stroud led Georgia's defense in 2000.

Credit: T. LEVETTE BAGWELL

Credit: T. LEVETTE BAGWELL

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