The 15 finalists have been named for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.
The most notable of the group are three first-timers on the ballot, and they are expected to generate a lot of buzz.
Offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who was voted to the Pro Bowl 10 times over his career with the Cleveland Browns, is considered one of the favorites to be voted in. He’s a six-time, first-team All-Pro selection, making him one of the most accomplished players in the group.
Thomas played all 11 of his seasons with the Browns, though he was never able to make it to the playoffs, let alone secure the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Cleveland had a winning record just once during his time there, finishing 10-6 during the 2007 season.
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is another first-timer, and his coverage skills are legendary at this point in NFL history.
A seven-time Pro Bowler, Revis was a four-time first-team All-Pro during his 11-year career that began in New York. The Jets drafted Revis 14th overall out of Pitt, and he immediately brought that “Revis Island” energy to the secondary.
Revis ended up playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for one season after leaving the Jets, and then in 2014, he was able to win a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. Revis would return to the Jets for two more seasons in 2015 and 2016 before ending his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017.
If Thomas or Revis were voted into the Hall, they would join Calvin Johnson as members in Canton that were drafted in the top 14 of their respective class.
Finally, among the first-timers is Indianapolis Colts great Dwight Freeney, who was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and was first-team All-Pro three times in his career. Freeney was key in the Colts’ Super Bowl-winning team during the 2006 season, and he was a menace on the defensive line every year he played in the league.
Freeney played 11 seasons with the Colts before bouncing around at the end of his playing days. After the 2012 season, Freeney joined the then-San Diego Chargers for two years followed by the Arizona Cardinals (2015), Atlanta Falcons (2016) and the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks – both in the 2017 campaign. Freeney finished his career with 125.5 sacks and 350 combined tackles in 218 games.
Another notable is cornerback Albert Lewis, who has waited a long time to reach the finalist stage, having played his final game in 1998.
Here’s the rest of the list:
– Defensive end Jared Allen
– Tackle Willie Anderson
– Cornerback Ronde Barber
– Wide receiver/returner Devin Hester
– Wide receiver Torry Holt
– Wide receiver Andre Johnson
– Linebacker Zach Thomas
– Defensive end DeMarcus Ware
– Wide receiver Reggie Wayne
– Linebacker Patrick Willis
– Safety Darren Woodson
Of that group, only Woodson didn’t make it as a finalist last year.
The Hall of Fame board will meet soon to discuss who will be a part of this year’s class. They are allowed to choose up to five modern-era finalists.
The Class of 2023 will be announced on Feb. 9 during the NFL Honors show.