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Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Terez Paylor
·Senior NFL writer
·4 min read
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Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson are rightfully thought of as two of the greatest football players of all time, and on Tuesday, they both took another step toward immortality as they were named among the 25 modern-era players who are Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists for 2021.

4 make cut in first year

Manning and Woodson are among four players who made the semifinals in their first year of eligibility. The others are receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive end Jared Allen.

Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion and five-time MVP winner in his 18-year career, is a cinch to make the next round and be inducted into the five-man class for 2021, which will be voted on by the 48-person selection committee during the week leading up to Super Bowl LV, scheduled to be played on Feb. 7.

Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson are two of the Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists. (Digital First Media Group/Contra Costa Times via Getty Images)
Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson are two of the Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists. (Digital First Media Group/Contra Costa Times via Getty Images)

Woodson is a Super Bowl champion who made eight All-Pro teams during his career with the Raiders and Packers, and was also named Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. He also figures to have a strong case for immediate induction.

Allen and Johnson both have Hall of Fame resumes but could be forced to wait for induction.

Johnson, for instance, is a three-time All-Pro selection who certainly passed the Hall of Fame eye test, but played nine seasons for mostly a losing team at a position where some of the greatest to ever do it (including Michael Irvin and Cris Carter) had to wait for induction into Canton for multiple years due to a backlog at the position.

Allen was a four-time, first-team All-Pro selection who twice led the NFL in sacks and racked up 136 career sacks for the Chiefs, Vikings, Bears and Panthers, which ranked ninth overall at the time of his retirement. Allen currently ranks 12th all time. Every Hall of Fame eligible player with more sacks than him has been inducted into Canton, but the two directly in front of him — John Randle and Richard Dent — were each forced to wait at least one year for induction.

Other first-time Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists

This list of 25 will soon be trimmed to 15 finalists.

The other players who made the semifinal cut for the first time include cornerback Eric Allen, offensive tackle Willie Anderson, defensive end Cornelius Bennett and safety Rodney Harrison.

The full list of semifinalists:

  • Eric Allen, CB – 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders

  • Jared Allen, DE – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers

  • Willie Anderson, T – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens

  • Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Cornelius Bennett, LB – 1987-1995 Buffalo Bills, 1996-98 Atlanta Falcons, 1999-2000 Indianapolis Colts

  • Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans

  • LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers

  • Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals

  • Rodney Harrison, S – 1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-08 New England Patriots

  • Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Calvin Johnson, WR – 2007-2015 Detroit Lions

  • John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos

  • Peyton Manning, QB – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts, 2012-15 Denver Broncos

  • Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons

  • Sam Mills, LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers

  • Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders

  • Steve Tasker, ST/WR – 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills

  • Fred Taylor, RB – 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots

  • Zach Thomas, LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys

  • Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Reggie Wayne, WR – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts

  • Patrick Willis, LB – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers

  • Charles Woodson, CB/S – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers

  • Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys

  • Bryant Young, DT – 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers

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