Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and perennial All-Pro defensive end Reggie White are among the six first-year eligible players who head the list of 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2006. The Hall of Fame's Board of Selectors chose the 25 semifinalists from the recently announced list of 112 preliminary nominees.
The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 13 modern-era candidates. That list will then increase to 15 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee. This year's Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden, and Cowboys tackle Rayfield Wright. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players, coaches, and contributors whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The list of 15 finalists for the Class of 2006 will be announced in mid-January.
The list of 25 modern-era semi-finalists includes:
Troy Aikman, QB - 1989-2000 Dallas Cowboys
Harry Carson, LB - 1976-1988 New York Giants
Dermontti Dawson, C - 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Randy Gradishar, LB - 1974-1983 Denver Broncos
L. C. Greenwood, DE - 1969-1981 Pittsburgh Steelers
Russ Grimm, G - 1981-1991 Washington Redskins
Ray Guy, P - 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Lester Hayes, CB - 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Claude Humphrey, DE - 1968-1974, 1976-1978 Atlanta Falcons, 1979-1981 Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Irvin, WR - 1988-1999 Dallas Cowboys
Bob Kuechenberg, G - 1970-1984 Miami Dolphins
Art Monk, WR - 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles
Andre Reed, WR - 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Ken Stabler, QB - 1970-1979 Oakland Raiders, 1980-1981 Houston Oilers, 1982-1984 New Orleans Saints
Derrick Thomas, LB - 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs
Thurman Thomas, RB - 1988-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Miami Dolphins
Roger Wehrli, CB - 1969-1982 St. Louis Cardinals
Reggie White, DE/DT - 1985-1992 Philadelphia Eagles, 1993-1998 Green Bay Packers, 2000 Carolina Panthers
Ralph Wilson, Jr., Owner - 1959-current Buffalo Bills
George Young, GM/Administrator - 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-1978 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League
Gary Zimmerman, T - 1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-1997 Denver Broncos
To be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated player must have been retired at least five years. For a non-player, there is not a mandatory retirement period, but a coach must be retired before he may be considered. A contributor, who is a nominee who has made outstanding contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing and coaching, may still be active in his pro football career.
The Class of 2006 will be determined at the Selection Committee's annual meeting on Saturday, February 4, 2006, in Detroit, Michigan, the day before Super Bowl XL. The election results are announced immediately following the meeting at a press conference at the media headquarters. Hall of Fame bylaws stipulate that between three and six new members will be selected each year.