New England Patriots

New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots signals to the defense during the second half of their 23-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The voting process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 took another step on Tuesday. Voting trimmed the initial list of 173 modern-era nominees down to 25 semifinalists.

That group of 25 features six former Patriots, including two long-time members of the team who won Super Bowls with the team. The other four had brief stints in New England.


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Will any of those five take the next step to becoming the 11th former Patriots inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? The next step will be to make it to the finalists round, when the group of 25 players will be cut down to 15 in January. From there, the committee will select the five members of the Class of 2024, which will be revealed in the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

Here’s a look at the former Patriots still up for induction this year…

  • NT Vince Wilfork

    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots reacts after he sacked Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos in the second half during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    FOXBORO, MA – JANUARY 14: Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots reacts after he sacked Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos in the second half during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    Wilfork is in his third year on the ballot, and has now reached the semifinalist round all three times. This is as far as he made it the previous two years.

    As was the case with another Patriots defensive tackle in Richard Seymour, Wilfork’s Hall of Fame case goes beyond his numbers. Given how defensive tackles are used in the Patriots’ defensive system, Wilfork impacted the game well beyond the box score.

    During Wilfork’s tenure the Patriots were regularly one of the toughest teams to run on in the NFL. When he missed 12 games in 2013 their rank against the run dropped all the way to 30th from ninth the year before. He was also one of the best pass-rushing nose tackles of his era, and played with great athleticism for his size. On top of that his durability was impressive given his position – 2013 was the only time Wilfork failed to play at least 13 games, and he played a full 16 in nine of his 13 seasons.

    Still, will Wilfork’s lack of raw stats force him to wait like Seymour did? It took five years of eligibility before ‘Big Sey’ got the nod.

  • S Rodney Harrison

    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18: Rodney Harrison #37 of the New England Patriots helps make a call during their game against the Carolina Panthers on September 18, 2005 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

    CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 18: Rodney Harrison #37 of the New England Patriots helps make a call during their game against the Carolina Panthers on September 18, 2005 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

    If you’ve read any of my Pro Football Hall of Fame posts in the past, you know I feel strongly about this one. Rodney Harrison isn’t just one of the biggest Hall of Fame snubs in the NFL, but across all sports.

    Arguably the best strong safety of his era, Harrison is a two-time Super Bowl Champion and three-time All-Pro. He’s also the inaugural member of the NFL’s 30-30 Club, as the first player in league history to record both 30 career sacks and 30 career interceptions. Only Ray Lewis – a first ballot Hall of Famer – has joined him since, and no active player is particularly close.

    Despite all of that, Harrison has never been a finalist in almost a decade of eligibility. This is his third time as a semifinalist, after 2021 and 2023. His induction is long overdue, but we’ll have to see if this year is any different.

  • Other former Patriots

    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31: James Harrison #92 of the New England Patriots looks on during the first half against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 31: James Harrison #92 of the New England Patriots looks on during the first half against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    There are four other players who reached the semifinalist round who spent short stints with the Patriots. None of the four won a Super Bowl with the team, but one did play in one.

    That one is James Harrison, who is in his second year of eligibility and is a second-time semifinalist. The long-time Steelers pass rusher recorded 84.5 sacks in his career, with the final two of those coming when he was a member of the Patriots.

    Running back Fred Taylor also finished his career with the Patriots, after a dominant 11 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s been a semifinalist each of the last four years.

    Wide receivers Reggie Wayne and Torry Holt never played a snap for the Patriots, but both spent part of a training camp in New England before retiring. Holt in particular stands out as a worthy  candidate for induction – no NFL player in the 2000s had more catches (868) or receiving yards (12,594) than Holt. His 68 touchdowns in the decade rank fifth.

  • Other semifinalists

    Aug 4, 2022; Canton, Ohio, USA; The Pro Football Hall of Fame logo at midfield at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 4, 2022; Canton, Ohio, USA; The Pro Football Hall of Fame logo at midfield at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Here’s the full list of 2024 semifinalists, from the Pro Football Hall of Fame

    • Eric Allen, CB – 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2021-24)
    • Jared Allen, DE – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2021-24)
    • Willie Anderson, T – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2021-24)
    • Tiki Barber, RB – 1997-2006 New York Giants | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2024)
    • Anquan Boldin, WR – 2003-09 Arizona Cardinals, 2010-12 Baltimore Ravens, 2013-15 San Francisco 49ers, 2016 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
    • Jahri Evans, G – 2006-2016 New Orleans Saints, 2017 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
    • London Fletcher, LB – 1998-2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002-06 Buffalo Bills, 2007-2013 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
    • Dwight Freeney, DE – 2002-2012 Indianapolis Colts, 2013-14 San Diego Chargers, 2015 Arizona Cardinals, 2016 Atlanta Falcons, 2017 Seattle Seahawks, 2017 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
    • Antonio Gates, TE – 2003-2018 San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2024)
    • Eddie George, RB – 1996-2003 Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans, 2004 Dallas Cowboys (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022, 2024)
    • James Harrison, LB – 2002-2012, 2014-17 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2013 Cincinnati Bengals, 2017 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2023-24)
    • Rodney Harrison, S – 1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-08 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2021, 2023-24)
    • Devin Hester, PR/KR/WR – 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
    • Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2015-2024)
    • Andre Johnson, WR – 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
    • Robert Mathis, DE/LB – 2003-2016 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
    • Julius Peppers, DE – 2002-09, 2017-18 Carolina Panthers, 2010-13 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Green Bay Packers (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2024)
    • Steve Smith Sr., WR – 2001-2013 Carolina Panthers, 2014-16 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
    • Fred Taylor, RB – 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2020-24)
    • Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2017-2024)
    • Ricky Watters, RB – 1992-94 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-97 Philadelphia Eagles, 1998-2001 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2020, 2022-24)
    • Reggie Wayne, WR – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2020-24)
    • Vince Wilfork, DT – 2004-2014 New England Patriots, 2015-16 Houston Texans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2022-24)
    • Patrick Willis, LB – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2020-24)
    • Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2015, 2017, 2019-2024)
  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.

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