Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, Chicago Bears return specialist Devin Hester and Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware were among the 15 finalists announced Thursday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
Johnson, who also played one season apiece for the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans before retiring after the 2016 season, finished his 14-year career with 1,062 receptions for 14,185 yards and 70 touchdowns. He could become the first player to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a Texan.
In 11 seasons, Hester made a name for himself as the greatest returner in NFL history. He returned 14 punts and five kickoffs for touchdowns in his career, plus a 108-yard return TD on a missed field goal. His kick return touchdown to open Super Bowl XLI against the Colts was the fastest touchdown in Super Bowl history.
Ware recorded 138.5 sacks in his 12-year career, which currently ranks 13th in league history. He was named a first-team All-Pro four times and finished his career with the Denver Broncos, where he won Super Bowl 50.
Four other first-year eligible players on the list of semifinalists — wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith and defensive linemen Robert Mathis and Vince Wilfork — did not make the cut.
Johnson may face competition from other receivers for a spot in the class, with longtime Colts star Reggie Wayne and former Rams standout Torry Holt also among the finalists.
The Class of 2022 will be revealed during the NFL Honors awards show on Feb. 10.
The full list of 15 finalists is below:
Jared Allen, defensive end, 2004-15
Willie Anderson, tackle, 1996-2008
Ronde Barber, defensive back, 1997-2012
Tony Boselli, tackle, 1995-2001
LeRoy Butler, safety, 1990-2001
Devin Hester, return specialist/wide receiver, 2006-16
Torry Holt, wide receiver, 1999-2009
Andre Johnson, wide receiver, 2003-16
Sam Mills, linebacker, 1986-97
Richard Seymour, defensive lineman, 2001-12
Zach Thomas, linebacker, 1996-2008
DeMarcus Ware, linebacker, 2005-16
Reggie Wayne, wide receiver, 2001-14
Patrick Willis, linebacker, 2007-14
Bryant Young, defensive lineman, 1994-2007
–Field Level Media