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Hall of Fame semifinalists: Zach Thomas advances

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Miami Dolphins v New York Giants

The NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have released the list of 25 semifinalists for the 2020 Hall of Fame induction class. Included in the group of 25 is Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, who has made it to this round of the selection process for the second-straight year. Thomas played for Miami from 1996 through 2007, then spent one season with the Dallas Cowboys.

Selected in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL Draft, Thomas was an undersized middle linebacker who quickly established himself as a dominant piece of Miami’s defense. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls, was a five-time First-Team All-Pro and two-time Second-Team All-Pro selection, and was named to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team.

Statistically, Thomas surpasses Brian Urlacher in many categories, though Urlacher was selected for the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility and Thomas is just reaching semifinalist status for the second time. Thomas finished his career with 17,27 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, and 17 interceptions with four touchdowns in 184 games. Urlacher had 1,354 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, 15 fumble recoveries with two touchdowns, and 22 interceptions with two touchdowns in 182 games.

The Hall of Fame will authorize 20 members to be inducted this year as part of the NFL’s 100th season celebration. Only five of the 20 will come from “modern-era nominees” however, while 10 Seniors (players who have been retired more than 25 years), three Contributors (individual other than a player or coach), and two Coaches will round out the induction class. The Modern-Era semifinalists will be narrowed to a 15 Finalists list on January 2, 2020. That group is then presented to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee on February 1, 2020. The Committee will then vote on the five players to be added to the Class of 2020, with enshrinement in August.

The full semifinalist list is:

  • Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 – 2012-2020)
  • Carl Banks, LB – 1984-1992 New York Giants, 1993 Washington Redskins, 1994-95 Cleveland Browns | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2020)
  • Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2018-2020)
  • Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2016-2020)
  • Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2015-2020)
  • LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2018-2020)
  • Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2016-2020)
  • Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2015-2020)
  • Steve Hutchinson, G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2018-2020)
  • Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2015-2020)
  • John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2013-2020)
  • Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2012, 2017, 2019-2020)
  • Sam Mills, LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016, 2019-2020)
  • Troy Polamalu, S – 2003-2014 Pittsburgh Steelers (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2020)
  • Simeon Rice, DE – 1996-2000 Arizona Cardinals, 2001-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2007 Denver Broncos, 2007 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018, 2020)
  • Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2018-2020)
  • Steve Tasker, ST/WR – 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2004, 2008-2010, 2012-13, 2020)
  • Fred Taylor, RB – 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2020)
  • Zach Thomas, LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2019-2020)
  • Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2017-2020)
  • Ricky Watters, RB – 1992-94 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-97 Philadelphia Eagles, 1998-2001 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2020)
  • Reggie Wayne, WR – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2020)
  • Patrick Willis, LB – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2020)
  • Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015, 2017, 2019-2020)
  • Bryant Young, DT – 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2020)