The NFL announced Tuesday night the fifteen modern-era finalists who will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame vote on February 4. Included in the list is legendary Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, advancing to the finalist group in his first year of eligibility. The Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be announced that night during the league’s “NFL Honors” awards show.
Taylor played 15 years in the NFL, 13 of them with the Dolphins. He tallied 139-1/2 sacks during his career, with 775 tackles, eight interceptions returning three for touchdowns, 77 passes defensed, 46 forced fumbles, and 29 fumble recoveries returning six for touchdowns. His six fumble return touchdowns is an NFL record.
Taylor is seventh all-time in sacks, with the five retired players ahead of him on the list all in the Hall of Fame. Green Bay Packers linebacker Julius Peppers passed Taylor this season and is currently fifth on the all-time list, the only active player ahead of Taylor.
Joining Taylor as a finalist for the Hall of Fame are kicker Morten Anderson, offensive tackle Tony Boselli, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Alan Faneca, offensive tackle Joe Jacoby, cornerback Ty Law, safety John Lynch, center Kevin Mawae, wide receiver Terrell Owens, running back LaDanian Tomlinson, and quarterback Kurt Warner. The veterans committee previously announced safety Kenny Easley as their finalist, and the contributor committee nominated former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
The first-time eligible players on the list are Taylor, Tomlinson, and Dawkins. Boselli, Bruce, Law, Mawae, Easley, and Jones are all first-time finalists. Lynch, Tagliabue, and Coryell have been finalists three previous times, but have never received the votes for induction. Davis and Warner have each been finalists twice prior to this year.
All 18 finalists will be under consideration for the Class of 2017. The selected group will be officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a ceremony August 5 in Canton, Ohio.