Defense dominated on Wednesday when the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its finalists for the Class of 2023.
Nine players from the defensive side of the ball were among the 15 finalists tapped by the Hall’s Selection Committee.
Defensive ends Jared Allen and Dwight Freeney were joined by linebackers Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware and Patrick Willis. In the secondary, cornerbacks Ronde Barber, Albert Lewis and Darrelle Revis and safety Darren Woodson made the cut.
On offense, wide receivers Torry Holt, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne return as finalists, along with kick returner-receiver Devin Hester. Offensive linemen Willie Anderson and Joe Thomas round out the modern-era finalists.
Freeney, Revis and Thomas reached the final cut in their first year of eligibility, according to NFL.com.
The modern-era player finalists are determined by a vote of the Selection Committee, according to NFL.com. There were 129 nominees for this year’s class and that list was trimmed to 28 semifinalists in November.
Also in the mix for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio, are senior finalists Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko and Ken Riley, along with contributor/coach finalist Don Coryell. They will be considered on a yes-or-no basis, according to ESPN.
Joe Thomas was named to 10 Pro Bowls during his career with the Cleveland Browns. Freeney was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time first-team All-Pro. He helped the Indianapolis Colts to victory in Super Bowl XLI and led the NFL in sacks during the 2004 season.
Revis, was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a four-time first-team All-Pro who played for four teams during his 11-year NFL career. He was part of the New England Patriots team that won Super Bowl XLIX.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will be announced on Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. EST, four days before the Super Bowl.
The enshrinement ceremony will be held in August, ESPN reported.
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