No surprise: Peyton Manning a Hall of Fame finalist

No surprise: Peyton Manning a Hall of Fame finalist

Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson headline the newest group of finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining four other first-time finalists who will be considered the Class of 2021. Woodson is one of three players in National Football League history with 25 or more interceptions with two teams (Oakland, Green Bay). No more than five modern-era candidates make the hall each year.

Johnson spent nine seasons with the Lions, Johnson amassed over 11,600 yards receiving with 96 touchdowns. He was a seven-time All-Pro, and a member of the NFLs All-Decade Team of the 2000s. Cornerback Ronde Barber and linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. were also named finalists for the first time, having been eligible previously.

Manning, whose statue is prominently displayed outside of Lucas Oil Stadium, had his No. 18 retired by the Colts in 2017, when he was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.

It could be the eighth consecutive year a player in his first year of eligibility is selected, and if three of the players in the first year of eligibility are selected among the five enshrinees, it would be the third time in the past four years that three players in their first year of eligibility were selected for enshrinement in the same class.

Two of the NFL's most dependable defensive linemen got to the finals: sack master Jared Allen and versatile Richard Seymour.

Zach Thomas, who also excelled on special teams, was one of three linebackers making the finals, joining Sam Mills - a star in the USFL and then the National Football League - and Clay Matthews, who led some strong Cleveland defenses from 1978-1993 before playing three season in Atlanta.

Mills made his mark in the USFL, and became the heart of the Saints "Dome Patrol" defense before coming to the Panthers as one of their first free agent targets in 1995.

According to the Hall of Fame, the Class of 2021 will be selected during the week of Super Bowl LV. To be elected, the finalists must receive at least 80 percent yes votes. Faneca, who played guard and tackle and starred for three franchises (Steelers, Jets, Cardinals) made his sixth final in as many years of eligibility, while Boselli, a standout for Jacksonville, reached the finals for a fifth time.

Inductees are scheduled to go into the Hall in a ceremony in August along with the class of 2020 and a special centennial class.

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