Six-time All-Pro offensive lineman Joe Thomas, shutdown cornerback Darrell Revis and speedy pass-rusher Dwight Freeney list nine first-year qualifying players out of 129 nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2023 class.
Other first-year characters are Chris Johnson, offensive lineman Zahri Evans, linebackers Navoro Bowman and James Harrison, trailing defensive back Kam Chancellor and painter Shane Leclerc.
The nine new candidates combined for 52 Pro Bowl berths and 30 first-team All-Pro selections, including five of the nine winning Super Bowls and five making the team of an entire decade. Johnson also won an offensive player award in 2009, and Harrison was selected as the top defensive player in 2008.
Thomas was one of the top tackles in the league in a lasting 11-year career that saw him first All-Pro six times and second-team pick twice. He made a consistent streak of 10,363 plays while playing for the Browns throughout his career.
Revis, who was also selected in the 2007 draft, moved around a lot, spending time with the Jets, Tampa Bay, New England and Kansas City.
His best play came in New York, where he was a first-team All-Pro from 2009–11 and finished second in defensive player of the year voting in 2009, when he repeatedly stopped top receivers by sending them to “Revis Island”. . ,
Revis spent a year in New England helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl in the 2014 season.
Freeney spent most of his 16-year career at Indianapolis, where his pace and dominant spin moves from the edge resulted in 125.5 career sacks. He launched a defense that complemented a high-powered offense led by Peyton Manning and helped the Colts win the Super Bowl in the 2006 season.
The list will be narrowed down to 25 semifinalists in November and 15 finalists in January before the selection committee discusses and selects the class of 2023 which will be established in August.
During the selection meeting early next year, the 15 finalists will be shortlisted in 10 and then five. The last five candidates will be required to obtain 80% of the votes from the panel to appear in the hall.
The roster of nominees includes 67 offensive players, 50 defensive players and 12 special team players.
2022 finalists are re-nominated for next year’s defensive end Jared Allen; Deal with Willie Anderson; Defensive Back Ronde Barber; returner Devin Hester; receivers Tory Holt, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne; linebackers Zach Thomas and Patrick Willis; and Edge Rasher DeMarcus Ware.
The committee will also consider Don Corriel, former coach of the Chargers and Cardinals, and three senior candidates in the coaching category: Super Bowl V MVP Chuck Hawley and All-Pro defenders Joe Kleko and Ken Riley. They will also join if they have the support of at least 80% of the voters in January.