The 17 finalists announced Friday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame include three former Seattle Seahawks: wide receiver Jerry Rice and defensive tackles Cortez Kennedy and John Randle.
Rice, the NFL’s career receiving leader, and Emmitt Smith, the league’s all-time leading rusher, are locks to be enshrined. Two to five of the other 15 finalists will be elected in voting by a 44-member panel on Feb. 6, the day before the Super Bowl.
The Class of 2010 will be inducted in August in Canton, Ohio.
Other finalists include receivers Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed. Tight end Shannon Sharpe, running back Roger Craig, center Dermontti Dawson, guard Russ Grimm, defensive end Richard Dent, defensive end Charles Haley, linebacker Rickey Jackson and coach Don Coryell also made the cut.
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The two senior nominees are running back Floyd Little and longtime assistant coach Dick LeBeau.
A final candidate must get 80 percent of the vote to make the Hall. No more than five of the modern-era nominees can be elected in a single year.
The semifinalists who did not advance Friday: former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, former Browns/Ravens owner Art Modell, wide receiver Cliff Branch, special teamer Steve Tasker, cornerbacks Aeneas Williams and Lester Hayes, running back Terrell Davis, defensive ends/linebackers Chris Doleman and Kevin Greene and punter Ray Guy.
Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren, a former Seattle Seahawks coach and general manager, continued his search for a GM by interviewing Seahawks pro personnel director Will Lewis. … New York Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson was added to the AFC team for the Pro Bowl. He replaces Miami’s Jake Long, who is out with an injury. … Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson confirmed the team has spoken with former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher about the team’s coaching vacancy. … The Dallas Cowboys expect right tackle Marc Colombo to return to the lineup today. He has been out since breaking his left leg and sustaining ligament damage in his ankle Nov. 15 at Green Bay. … New York Jets linebacker David Harris is questionable for the team’s first-round playoff game at Cincinnati with a sprained right ankle. … Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
JETS AT BENGALS
When: 1:30 p.m. (Ch. 5)
Line: Bengals by 21/2
Synopsis: Seeing isn’t always believing in the NFL – this is a rematch of a game last weekend that the Jets won, 37-0, but New York is an underdog here. The Jets had to win to get in the playoffs and went all out, while Cincy already had a slot locked and offered little resistance. Look for a spirited response here from the Bengals, who almost certainly won’t be fooled again by big wildcat-formation plays from Brad Smith. But key Cincy WR Chad Ochocinco has a sore knee, and the Jets have the NFL’s No. 1 defense. The Jets also have the No. 1 rushing attack, led by vastly underrated Thomas Jones, but the Bengals are strong vs. the run (No. 7). A key factor here – Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez, who has been prone to turnovers, makes his first postseason start, and it comes on the road. Just ask Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, who had a better rookie year last season than Sanchez did this year, what it’s like to play your first road playoff game. Ryan had a shaky debut as the favored Falcons were beaten by the Cardinals in a postseason opener last year. A slight chance of light snow, with the temperature in the low 20s, is forecast.
The pick: Bengals 20, Jets 16.
EAGLES AT COWBOYS
When: 5 p.m. (Ch. 5)
Line: Cowboys by 31/2
Synopsis: Another rematch of a blowout last week, as Dallas won, 24-0. The Cowboys haven’t won a playoff game since 1996. In order to break that streak, it will need another big defensive effort, something it has been able to do vs. the Eagles. Philadelphia averages nearly 27 points a game but scored just 16 in two games against Dallas, and key WR DeSean Jackson has done little. Expect better things this time, as QB Donovan McNabb has nine postseason wins – to zero for Dallas’ Tony Romo. However, Philly is without center Jamaal Jackson, the anchor of the offensive line, because of a knee injury he suffered a couple weeks ago, and the makeshift line allowed four sacks last week. That’s a bad sign.
The pick: Cowboys 27, Eagles 21.
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