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Eight Hall of Fame rookie candidates among 26 semifinalists

Sports Xchange

Eight first-time nominees were among 26 semifinalists announced Tuesday as candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2015.

The list will be pared to 15 modern-era candidates on Jan. 8 and the enshrinees will be selected on Jan. 31 in Arizona, the day before Super Bowl XLIX.

Also on the final list are senior candidate Mick Tinglehoff, a former center for the Minnesota Vikings and longtime general managers Ron Wolf and Bill Polian.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 will be formally enshrined during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 7-9, 2015.

Here is a closer look at each of the modern-era semifinalist candidates for the Class of 2015 (listed alphabetically by last name):

Morten Andersen

Position: Kicker

Years/teams: 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings

College: Michigan State

Drafted: 4th round (86th player overall) of 1982 draft by New Orleans Saints

Seasons: 25

Games: 382

All-Pro: 5

Pro Bowls: 7

Career Stats: 565 field goals, 849 PATs for 2,544 career points

Notable: Andersen retired as the NFL's all-time leading scorer and leads two teams (Saints and Falcons) in career field goals and points.

Steve Atwater

Position: Safety

Years/teams: 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets

College: Arkansas

Drafted: 1st round (20th player overall) of 1989 draft by Denver Broncos

Seasons: 11

Games: 167

All-Pro: 2

Pro Bowls: 8

Career Stats: 24 interceptions for 408 yards and 1 touchdown

Notable: Atwater's selection to seven straight Pro Bowls from 1990-96 is tied for the franchise record with Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.

Jerome Bettis

Position: Running back

Years/teams: 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

College: Notre Dame

Drafted: 1st round (10th player overall) of 1993 draft by Los Angeles Rams

Seasons: 13

Games: 192

All-Pro: 2

Pro Bowls: 6

Career Stats: 3,479 carries for 13,662 yards, 91 touchdowns; 200 receptions for 1,449 yards, 3 touchdowns

Notable: At the time of his retirement, Bettis ranked fifth in rushing yards.

Tim Brown

Position: Wide receiver/kick returner

Years/Teams: 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

College: Notre Dame

Drafted: 1st round (6th player overall) of 1988 draft by Los Angeles Raiders

Seasons: 17

Games: 255

All-Pro: 2

Pro Bowls: 9

Career Stats: 1,094 receptions for 14,934 yards and 100 touchdowns

Notable: Brown had 80 or more receptions in nine seasons over a 10-year span. He also was a lethal return man: his 19,682 all-purpose yards still ranks fifth all-time.

Isaac Bruce

Position: Wide receiver

Years/teams: 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers

College: Santa Monica College (JC); Memphis

Drafted: 2nd round (33rd player overall) of 1994 draft by Los Angeles Rams

Seasons: 16

Games: 223

All-Pro: 1 (and 1 second team)

Pro Bowls: 4

Career stats: 1,024 receptions for 15,208 yards and 91 touchdowns

Notable: During his time with the St. Louis Rams, Bruce was the leading receiver for the Greatest Show on Turf. In 2008, he signed with and became the leading receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. Bruce is the second wide receiver in NFL history to compile more than 15,000 yards receiving.

Don Coryell

Position: Head coach

Years/Teams: 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals; 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

College: Washington

NFL Coach of the Year awards: 1

Seasons: 14

Division titles: 5

Career record: 114 wins, 89 losses, 1 tie including playoffs

Notable: Under Coryell's direction, the Chargers led the NFL in passing seven out of eight seasons.

Roger Craig

Position: Running back

Years/Teams: 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers; 1991 Los Angeles Raiders; 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

College: Nebraska

Drafted: 2nd round (49th player overall) of 1983 draft by San Francisco 49ers

Seasons: 11

Games: 165

All-Pro: 1

Pro Bowls: 4

Career stats: 1,991 carries for 8,189 yards, 56 touchdowns; 566 receptions for 4,911 yards, 17 touchdowns

Notable: At the time of his retirement, Craig ranked in the top 20 career leaders in both receptions and rushing yards.

Terrell Davis

Position: Running back

Years/Teams: 1995-2001 Denver Broncos

College: Long Beach State; Georgia

Drafted: 6th round (196th player overall) of 1995 draft by Denver Broncos

Seasons: 7

Games: 78

All-Pro: 3

Pro Bowls: 3

Career stats: 1,655 carries for 7,607 yards, 60 touchdowns

Notable: Significantly increased yardage total each season until he suffered knee injury. In 1998, he became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

Tony Dungy

Position: Head coach

Years/Teams: 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2002-08 Indianapolis Colts

College: Minnesota

NFL Coach of the Year awards: 2

Seasons: 13

Division titles: 6

Conference titles: 1

Super Bowl titles: 1

Notable: Dungy, the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl, was elected to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

Kevin Greene

Position: Linebacker/defensive end

Years/teams: 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

College: Auburn

Drafted: 5th round (113th player overall) of 1985 draft by Los Angeles Rams

Seasons: 15

Games: 228

All-Pro: 2

Pro Bowls: 5

Career stats: Amassed 160 sacks. Also had 5 interceptions for 53 yards and 1 TD, 3 safeties and 2 fumble recoveries for touchdowns.

Notable: Greene twice led the NFL in sacks, the first time in 1994 with the Steelers and again two years later in Carolina. He had 10 or more sacks in a season 10 times during his career.

Charles Haley

Position: Defensive end/linebacker

Years/Teams: 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

College: James Madison

Drafted: 4th round (96th player overall) of 1986 draft by San Francisco 49ers

Seasons: 12

Games: 169

All-Pro: 2

Pro Bowls: 5

Career Stats: Recorded 100.5 sacks. Had one safety and one fumble recovery for a touchdown

Notable: Haley holds the NFL record for most Super Bowl victories by a player. He won three with the Cowboys (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX) and two with San Francisco (XXIII, XXIV).

Marvin Harrison

Position: Wide receiver

Years/Teams: 1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts

College: Syracuse

Drafted: 1st round (19th player overall) of 1996 draft by Indianapolis Colts

Seasons: 13

Games: 190

All-Pro: 6

Pro Bowls: 8

Career Stats: 1,102 receptions for 14,580 yards and 128 TDs

Notable: At retirement, Harrison ranked second all-time in receptions and fourth in career receiving yardage.

Torry Holt

Position: Wide receiver

Years/Teams: 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars

College: North Carolina State

Drafted: 1st round (6th player overall) of 1999 draft by St. Louis Rams

Seasons: 11

Games: 173

All-Pro: 1 (and 1 second team)

Pro Bowls: 7

Career stats: 920 receptions for 13,382 yards, 74 touchdowns

Notable: Retired with the 10th most receiving yards in NFL history, including a record six consecutive seasons with at least 1,300 yards receiving.

Joe Jacoby

Position: Tackle

Years/Teams: 1981-1993 Washington Redskins

College: Louisville

Drafted: Signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington Redskins in 1981

Seasons: 13

Games: 170

All-Pro: 3

Pro Bowls: 4

Notable: At the time of his retirement, Jacoby was the only offensive lineman in Redskins history to score a TD.

Edgerrin James

Position: Running back

Years/teams: 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks

Drafted: 1st round (4th player overall) of 1999 draft by Indianapolis Colts

Seasons: 11

Games: 148

All-Pro: 3 (and 2 second team)

Pro Bowls: 4

Career stats: 3,028 carries, 12,246 yards, 80 touchdowns; 433 receptions, 3,364 yards, 11 touchdowns

Notable: After earning the NFL Rookie of Year award in 1999, James became the youngest NFL player to rush for 2,000 and 3,000 yards, then after recovering from 2001 knee surgery, became youngest to rush for 4,000, 5,000, 10,000, 11,000 and -- at the age of 27 years, 139 days -- 12,000 yards rushing. After he left Indianapolis for Arizona in 2006, the Colts gave him a ring when they won Super Bowl XLI.

Jimmy Johnson

Position: Head coach

Years/Teams: 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins

College: Arkansas

NFL Coach of the Year awards: 1

Seasons: 9

Division titles: 2

Conference titles: 2

Super Bowl titles: 2

Notable: Johnson was first coach to win a Super Bowl and a major college championship.

Mike Kenn

Position: Offensive tackle

Years/Teams: 1978-1994 Atlanta Falcons

College: Michigan

Drafted: 1st round (13th player overall) in 1978 draft by Atlanta Falcons

Seasons: 17

Games: 251

All-Pro: 3 (4 times second team)

Pro Bowls: 5

Notable: Kenn played his entire 17-year NFL career with the Falcons and started every game in which he played (251). He holds the Falcons' franchise record for games started and games played.

Ty Law

Position: Cornerback

Years/teams: 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos

College: Michigan

Drafted: 1st round (23rd player overall) in 1995 draft by New England Patriots

Seasons: 15

Games: 203

All-Pro: 2

Pro Bowls: 5

Career statistics: 53 interceptions, returned 828 yards with 7 touchdowns; 5 sacks

Notable: A key player on three Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams. His 53 interceptions ranks 22nd in NFL history.

John Lynch

Position: Free Safety

Years/Teams: 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos

College: Stanford

Drafted: 3rd round (82nd player overall) of 1993 draft by Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Seasons: 15

Games: 224

All-Pro: 3

Pro Bowls: 9

Career Stats: 24 interceptions for 204 yards and 13.0 career sacks

Notable: Lynch registered nine seasons in which he logged 90 or more tackles.

Kevin Mawae

Position: Center, guard

Years/Teams: 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-2009 Tennessee Titans

College: Louisiana State

Drafted: 2nd round (36th player overall) in 1994 draft by Seattle Seahawks

Seasons: 16

Games: 241

All-Pro: 6 (and 4 on second team)

Pro Bowls: 8

Notable: Mawae served two terms as NFLPA president, coinciding with the tumultuous 2011 NFL lockout.

Karl Mecklenburg

Position: Linebacker

Years/Teams: 1983-1994 Denver Broncos

College: Augustana (SD); Minnesota

Drafted: 12th round (310th player overall) of 1983 draft by Denver Broncos

Seasons: 12

Games: 180

All-Pro: 4

Pro Bowls: 6

Career stats: 79 sacks, 5 interceptions for 128 yards, 1 safety and 2 fumble recoveries for a TD

Notable: Mecklenburg is the only player in Denver Broncos history to record four sacks in a game twice.

Orlando Pace

Position: Offensive tackle

Years/Teams: 1997-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Chicago Bears

College: Ohio State

Drafted: 1st round (1st player overall in 1997 draft by St. Louis Rams

Seasons: 13

Games: 169

All-Pro: 5 (2nd team once)

Pro Bowls: 7

Notable: Pace was the cornerstone of a Rams offensive line that blocked for an offense that compiled more gross yards than any other NFL team during his time in St. Louis (50,770 in 12 seasons), finished second in completion percentage (61.8 percent) and fifth in touchdown passes (289) over that time. He also blocked for seven 1,000-yard rushers.

Junior Seau

Position: Linebacker

Years/Teams: 1990-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-05 Miami Dolphins, 2006-09 New England Patriots

College: USC

Drafted: 1st round (5th player overall) in 1990 draft by San Diego Chargers

Seasons: 20

Games: 268

All-Pro: 10

Pro Bowls: 12

Career statistics: 18 interceptions, returned 238 yards

Notable: Named to NFL's 1990s All-Decade team. Committed suicide in 2012 with a shot to his chest enabling his brain to be studied by the National Institutes of Health, which concluded Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of brain damage found in other deceased NFL players and considered a major part in the league's current emphasis on safety.

Will Shields

Position: Guard

Years/Teams: 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

College: Nebraska

Drafted: 3rd round (74th player overall) of 1993 draft by Kansas City Chiefs

Seasons: 14

Games: 224

All-Pro: 3

Pro Bowls: 12

Notable: Shields was selected for the NFL's All-Decade Team in the 2000s.

Kurt Warner

Position: Quarterback

Years/Teams: 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals

College: Northern Iowa

Drafted: Undrafted, 1994. Signed as rookie free agent with Green Bay but failed to make roster

Seasons: 12

Games: 124

All Pro: 2

Pro Bowls: 4

Career statistics: Completed 2,666 of 4,070 passes for 32,344 yards, 208 touchdowns, 128 interceptions. Passer rating of 93.7.

Notable: Worked as full-time stock boy and part-time quarterback for Arena Football League's Iowa Barnstormers (1995-97) and Amsterdam Admirals (1998) before making an NFL roster in 1998 with the Rams as a backup to Trent Green. When Green tore his ACL in a preseason game, Warner took over as the ring leader of an offense nicknamed the Greatest Show on Turf, registering three consecutive 500-point seasons and a Super Bowl XXXIV championship. He was the NFL and Super Bowl MVP in 1999. Owns the three highest Super Bowl passing yardage games: 414 with the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, 377 with the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, 365 with the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Darren Woodson

Position: Safety

Years/teams: 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys

College: Arizona State

Drafted: 2nd round (37th player overall) of 1992 draft by Dallas Cowboys

Seasons: 12

Games: 178

All Pro: 4

Pro Bowls: 5

Career statistics: Returned 23 interceptions 278 yards with two touchdowns

Notable: A surprise high draft pick after playing linebacker for ASU assistant coach Lovie Smith (who became head coach of NFL's Chicago and Tampa Bay franchises). Woodson helped three Cowboys teams to Super Bowl championships with his rare ability to cover slot receivers as well as be a force against the run.

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