Two of the more influential free-agent signings in Cowboys history are among the 26 semifinalists for the upcoming Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
First-ballot candidate Deion Sanders is finally up and should make it on his first try. Last year, Charles Haley was a finalist but didn't get picked in that star-studded class that included Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice.
Sanders is one of five first-ballot candidates, along with Marshall Faulk, Willie Roaf, Curtis Martin and Jerome Bettis.
While Sanders will likely get it in this year, and I'm guessing Haley will eventually make it as well, it'll be interesting to see how the Cowboys organization recognizes those two players, considering they didn't spent the majority of their career in Dallas.
For instance, in the Cowboys' media guide, players such as Herb Adderely, Lance Alworth, Mike Ditka, Forrest Gregg, Tommy McDonald and Jackie Smith are in the HOF and played with the Cowboys, but aren't highlighted with their own page like the others.
But here's a complete list of the 26 modern-era semifinalists:
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
Cris Carter ,*WR – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins *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 *Dermontti Dawson, C – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner – 1979-1997 San Francisco 49ers Richard Dent, DE – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Doleman, DE/LB – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers Marshall Faulk, RB – 1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers Ray Guy, P – 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Charles Haley,* DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas CowboysLester Hayes, CB – 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
*Cortez Kennedy, DT – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks* Curtis Martin , RB – 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
Art Modell , Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens
Andre Reed , WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Willie Roaf , T – 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
Ed Sabol , Contributor – 1964-1995 NFL Films
Deion Sanders , CB/KR/PR – 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens
Shannon Sharpe , TE – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
Paul Tagliabue ,Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
*Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams* *George Young , Contributor – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League
The list of 26 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are linebacker Chris Hanburger, Washington Redskins (1965-1978) and linebacker Les Richter, Los Angeles Rams (1954-1962).
The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced in early January, 2011.