Former Indianapolis Colts defensive end Robert Mathis, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and defensive end Dwight Freeney are among the 28 modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
This will be Wayne’s fourth time on the ballot. He has made it as a finalist in each of his first three years on the ballot. Wayne will get in most likely sooner rather than later. His resume speaks for itself. His 1,070 career receptions are more than 13 wide receivers already in the Hall of Fame. His 14,345 receiving yards are more than 14 wide receivers already in the Hall of Fame.
Those numbers are both 10th all-time among wide receivers in NFL history. Wayne was a six-time Pro Bowler and was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2010. He also holds the Colts’ franchise record for career games played (211). His 1,070 career receptions, 14,345 career yards and 82 career receiving touchdowns are all the second-most in franchise history behind Marvin Harrison.
This is Mathis’ second time on the ballot and the second time he’s reached the semifinalist stage of the process. Mathis is the Colts’ franchise leader in sacks (123) and NFL leader in forced fumbles (54), thanks to his elite strip-sack ability. He was a five-time Pro Bowler while earning an All-Pro nod in 2013 when he recorded a career-high 19.5 sacks. That also resulted in him winning the AFC Defensive Player of the Year Award.
This is Freeny’s first time on the ballot, and he’s among five players who are first-year eligible semifinalists. His 125.5 career sacks rank 26th all time while he was a three-time All-Pro First Team selection (2004-2005, 2009) and a seven-time Pro Bowler (2003-2005, 2008-2011).
From here, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce 15 finalists in early January. The committee will vote, and the Class of 2023 will be inducted during the NFL Honors just before the Super Bowl. In August, the Class of 2023 will officially be enshrined in Canton.