Former Clemson standout and NFL great Brian Dawkins has been named among the 26 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.
Dawkins, a former safety, joins defensive end Jason Taylor, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward as the four first-year eligible candidates. Dawkins is the first former Tiger to be named a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well as the first one to earn Pro Football Hall of Fame status.
Dawkins was a three-year starter at Clemson from 1992-’95, where he finished his college career with 247 tackles and 11 interceptions, which was second at the time in Clemson history. He was a second-team All-America by the Associated Press in 1995 as well as earning All-ACC honors. That year, he was tied for the ACC lead with six interceptions.
The following year, Dawkins was named the first-team strong safety on Clemson’s all-centennial team in 1996 and was selected to Clemson’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.
In 2013, Clemson established the Brian Dawkins Lifetime Achievement Award to annually honor a former Clemson player for their performance on the field, contributions in leadership and community service.
Dawkins played in the NFL for 16 years, while playing in 224 games. He was a second-round draft (No. 61 overall) in the 1996 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played for the Eagles for 13 seasons (1996-2008) and the Denver Broncos for three seasons (2009-’11).
During his time in the NFL, Dawkins became one of the best safeties in the game. The former Clemson star was named to the All-Pro Team five times in his career, four with the Eagles and once with the Broncos. He was named to a Pro Bowl roster nine times, the most by any former Clemson player.
Although Hall of Fame bylaws call for the selection of 25 semifinalists they also provide that the semifinalist list includes all ties for the twenty-fifth position, as has occurred this year.
One other player, guard-tackle Chris Hinton,although previously eligible for the Hall, is a semifinalist for the first time. All other individuals on the 2017 list have been a semifinalist in previous years. The group of semifinalists includes 24 players (15 on offense, 8 on defense and 1 special teams) and two coaches.
The year-round selection process is integral in fulfilling the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Mission to Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values and Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE.
The following is the complete list of 2017 Modern-Era semifinalists, including their positions, years of participation and teams. Also listed are the number of times and years that each individual has been named a semifinalist since this reduction vote was added to the Selection Committee Bylaws in 2004.
- 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 | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2013-17)
- Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2012-17)
- Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2016-17)
- Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
- Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 – 2005, 2010-17)
- Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 – 2009-17)
- Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 11 – 2007-2017)
- Brian Dawkins, S, 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
- Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2016-17)
- Chris Hinton, G/T – 1983-89 Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, 1990-93 Atlanta Falcons, 1994-95 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
- Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
- Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2005, 2008, 2013-17)
- Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
- Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2014-17)
- Mike Kenn, T – 1978-1994 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
- Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
- John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2013-17)
- Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2012, 2017)
- Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
- Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2012-17)
- Terrell Owens, WR – 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2016-17)
- Jason Taylor, DE – 1997-2007, 2009, 2011 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Washington Redskins, 2010 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
- LaDainian Tomlinson, RB – 2001-09 San Diego Chargers, 2010-11 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
- Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2017)
- Kurt Warner, QB – 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015-17)
- Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015, 2017)
To be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated player or coach must not have participated as an active player or coach for five consecutive seasons.
The list of semifinalists was reduced from an initial group of 94 nominees. The next step in the selection process comes in January when the semifinalists are trimmed to 15 Modern-Era Finalists. That list increases to 18 finalists with the inclusion of the recommended nominees of the Hall of Fame’s Contributors and Seniors Committees. The 2017 Senior Finalist is Kenny Easley (S – 1981-87 Seattle Seahawks). The 2017 Contributor Finalists are Dallas Cowboys Owner, President & General Manager Jerry Jones (1989-present) and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (1989-2006).