Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Colts well represented in process for Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023


Posted: Sep 20, 2022 / 01:03 PM EDT

Updated: Sep 20, 2022 / 08:18 PM EDT


INDIANAPOLIS – The on-going selection process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 has a definite Colts flavor.

Eleven individuals with ties to the franchise – including seven who played major roles in the team’s strong run through the 2000s – are included among the 129 modern-era nominees.

Topping the list are defensive end Dwight Freeney, who’s in his first year of eligibility, and wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who has advanced to the Final 15 in each of the last three years.

The other core Colts: defensive end Robert Mathis, tight end Dallas Clark, center Jeff Saturday, safety Bob Sanders and punter Pat McAfee.

Individuals with varying degrees of connection with the team are wideouts Andre Johnson and Andre Rison, linebacker Cornelius Bennett, cornerback Antonio Cromartie, defensive end Simeon Rice and return specialist Josh Cribbs.

The list was pared down by the Selection Committee; I am on the panel. The 129 will be trimmed to 25 modern-era Semifinalists in November, then to 15 Finalists in early January.

The 49-member Selection Committee will determine the Class of 2023 at its annual meeting prior to the Super Bowl.

A snapshot look at the core Colts:

Wayne: 30th overall pick in 2001 draft. . . . appeared in franchise-record 211 regular-season games and 21 postseason games. . . . ranks 10th in NFL history with 1,070 receptions and 14,345 yards . . . ranks 5th in postseason history with 93 receptions, 7th with 1,254 yards and tied-10th with 9 TDs . . . six-time Pro Bowl selection with one All-Pro designation . . . appeared in two Super Bowls with one world championship (2006). . . . Ring of Honor member.

Freeney: 11th overall pick in 2002 draft. . . . ranks 26th in NFL history with 125.5 sacks and tied-3rd with 47 forced fumbles. . . . had at least 10 sacks in seven of 16 seasons, including league-best 16 in 2004. . . . seven Pro Bowls and three-time All-Pro. . . . member of the 2000s All-Decade team. . . . appeared in three Super Bowls (two with Indy, one with Atlanta) with one world championship (2006). . . . Ring of Honor member.

Mathis: 5th-round pick in 2003 (138th overall). . . . holds franchise record with 123.0 sacks, which ranks 27th in NFL history. Holds NFL record with 54 forced fumbles. . . led NFL with franchise-record 19.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in 2013. . . . five Pro Bowls and one All-Pro. . . . appeared in two Super Bowls with one world championship (2006). . . . Ring of Honor member.

Sanders: 2nd-round pick in 2004 (44th overall). . . . instrumental in 2006 world championship which culminated with win over Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.  . . . NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2007. . . . two Pro Bowls and two All-Pros. . . . career plagued by injuries. Appeared in 48 games in seven seasons with Colts, but missed 64.

Saturday: signed as street free agent in 1999. . . . appeared in 197 games with 188 starts in 13 seasons with Colts. . . . six Pro Bowls and 2 All-Pros. . . . appeared in two Super Bowls with one world championship (2006). . . . Ring of Honor member.

Dallas Clark #44 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the game against the Washington Redskins at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Clark: 24th overall pick in 2003 draft. . . . one of most prolific tight ends in franchise history with 427 receptions, 4,887 yards and 46 TDs in 115 games. . . . had 100 receptions for 1,106 yards and 10 TDs in 2009. . . one Pro Bowl and one All-Pro. . . . appeared in two Super Bowls with one world championship (2006).

McAfee: 7th-round pick in 2009 (222nd overall selection). . . . holds franchise record with 46.4 average on 575 punts, and club mark with 23 games averaging at least 50 yards. . . . also top-tier kickoff specialist with touchbacks on 53.1% of 659 attempts. . . . two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro.

~ Complete list of 129 modern-era nominees ~

Quarterbacks: Randall Cunningham, Jack Delhomme, Jeff Garcia, Dave Krieg, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair.

Running backs: Shaun Alexander, Mike Alstott, Tiki Barber, Larry Centers, Corey Dillon,Warrick Dunn, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson, Vonta Leach, Jamal Lewis, Lorenzo Neal, Eric Metcalf, Fred Taylor, Ricky Watters, Brian Westbrook.

Wide receivers: Anquan Boldin, Troy Brown, Donald Driver, Henry Ellard, Irvin Fryar, Devin Hester, Torry Holt, Joe Horn, Andre Johnson, Chad Johnson, Derrick Mason, Muhsin Muhammd, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Steve Smith Sr., Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker, Roddy White.

Tight ends: Dallas Clark, Ben Coates, Wesley Walls.

Offensive linemen: Willie Anderson, Matt Birk, Lomas Brown, Ruben Brown, Jahri Evans, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Kevin Glover, Jordan Gross, Olin Kreutz, Nick Mangold, Logan Mankins, Tom Nalen, Nate Newton, Jeff Saturday, Mark Schlereth, Chris Snee, Joe Thomas, Brian Waters, Richmond Webb, Erik Williams, Steve Wisniewski.

Defensive linemen: John Abraham, Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, La’Roi Glover, Casey Hampton, Robert Mathis, Leslie O’Neal, Simeon Rice, Clyde Simmons, Justin Smith, Neil Smith, Justin Tuck, Vince Wilfork, Kevin Williams.

Linebackers: Jessie Armstead, Cornelius Bennett, NaVorro Bowman, Lance Briggs, Chad Brown, Tedy Bruschi, James Farrior, London Fletcher, James Harrison, Seth Joyner, Willie McGinest, Takeo Spikes, Pat Swilling, Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware, Patrick Willis, Al Wilson.

Defensive backs: Eric Allen, Ronde Barber, Dre’ Bly, Kam Chancellor, Nick Collins, Antonio Cromartie, Merton Hanks, Rodney Harrison, Albert Lewis, Terry McDaniel, Tim McDonald, Darrelle Revis, Allen Rossum, Asante Samuel, Bob Sanders, Charles Tillman, Troy Vincent, Adrian Wilson, Darren Woodson.

Punters/kickers: Gary Anderson, Jason Elam, Jeff Feagles, Jason Hanson, John Kasay, Sean Landeta, Shane Lechler, Ryan Longwell, Pat McAfee, Matt Turk.

Special teams: Josh Cribbs, Brian Mitchell.

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