Ex-Saints kicker Morten Andersen and former LSU offensive lineman Kevin Mawae landed among 26 “modern era” semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015 late Wednesday.
The list left off several nominees of local interest, such as former Saints linebacker Sam Mills, running back/kick returner/punt returner Brian Mitchell of Louisiana-Lafayette, New Orleans native and ex-Washington coach Richie Petitbon, cornerback Everson Walls of Grambling as well as receiver Henry Ellard, who coaches the Saints’ receivers.
Andersen joined the NFL with the Saints in 1982 and played in the league until 2007. He spent 13 seasons in New Orleans, made seven career Pro Bowls and retired as the NFL’s career leader in points (2,544) and games played (382).
Andersen was a Hall of Fame semifinalist in 2013; and he was a finalist earlier this year, when New Orleans native/ex-Southern University standout/star defensive back Aeneas Williams was picked for induction.
As for Mawae, he grew up in Leesville before becoming a three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection at LSU. He played from 1994-2009 with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans and was an eight-time Pro Bowl pick.
This is Mawae’s first year of eligibility.
Semifinalists for the hall’s 2015 class were chosen from a list of 113 nominees unveiled previously. The hall’s bylaws call for a selection of 25 semifinalists but also permits ties for the last of those spots, which occurred this year.
The list of 26 semifinalists will be reduced to 15 finalists via mail-in ballot, and the NFL Network will announce the results of that vote at 8 p.m. on Jan. 8. The Class of 2015 will be selected on Jan. 31.
The semifinalists are, in alphabetical order:
- Morten Andersen, K – 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings
- Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets
- Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
- Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers
- Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
- Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
- Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
- Tony Dungy, Coach – 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2002-08 Indianapolis Colts
- Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
- Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
- Marvin Harrison, WR – 1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts
- Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
- Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins
- Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks
- Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins
- Mike Kenn, T – 1978-1994 Atlanta Falcons
- Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos
- John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
- Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans
- Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos
- Orlando Pace, T – 1997-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Chicago Bears
- Junior Seau, LB – 1990-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-05 Miami Dolphins, 2006-09 New England Patriots
- Will Shields, G – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
- Kurt Warner, QB – 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals
- Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys
In addition to the 15 modern era finalists that will eventually be chosen, there are two candidates from the Hall of Fame’s “Contributors Committee” as well as another by the seniors committee.
The contributor nominees are former team executives Bill Polian and Ron Wolf, and Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff is the 2015 seniors finalist. They will be voted on separately from the other finalists, but they will nonetheless need to receive an 80 percent positive vote from the full selection committee on Jan. 31 to be inducted.