The 26 semifinalists will be trimmed to 15 finalists in early January. The current group includes 15 offensive stars, eight defensive stalwarts, two coaches and one kicker.
Among the first-year eligibles, former San Diego Chargers running back (and current NFL Network analyst) LaDainian Tomlinson is the headliner.
The 2006 NFL Most Valuable Player, Tomlinson was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and six-time All-Pro across 11 seasons with the Chargers and New York Jets. He ranks fifth in career rushing yards (13,684), seventh in all-purpose yards (18,456) and third in touchdowns (162).
Other first-year eligibles include safety Brian Dawkins, defensive end Jason Taylor and wide receiver Hines Ward.
Those players will be joined by 2016 finalists such as Kurt Warner, Terrell Davis, Terrell Owens, John Lynch and Don Coryell.
Davis, the former Denver Broncos running back, has made the semifinalist list 11 times, the most of any nominee this year.
Davis, Warner, Owens and former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson will be interesting names to track when the debates heat up in January. Once the list is reduced to 15 finalists, those candidates will join Senior Finalist Kenny Easley and 2017 Contributor Finalists Jerry Jones and Paul Tagliabue when the 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee meets to vote on the eve of Super Bowl LI.
Here is the complete list of semifinalists (names listed in alphabetical order):
1. Morten Anderson, kicker (New Orleans Saints, 1982-1994; Atlanta Falcons, 1995-2000; 2006-07; New York Giants, 2001; Kansas City Chiefs, 2002-03; Minnesota Vikings, 2004)
2. Steve Atwater, safety (Denver Broncos, 1989-1998; New York Jets, 1999)
3. Tony Boselli, offensive tackle (Jacksonville Jaguars, 1995-2001; Houston Texans, 2002)
4. Isaac Bruce, wide receiver (Los Angeles Rams, 1994; St. Louis Rams, 1995-2007; San Francisco 49ers, 2008-09)
5. Don Coryell, coach (St. Louis Cardinals, 1973-77; San Diego Chargers, 1978-1986)
6. Roger Craig, running back (San Francisco 49ers, 1983-1990; Los Angeles Raiders, 1991; Minnesota Vikings, 1992-93)
7. Terrell Davis, running back (Denver Broncos, 1995-2001)
8. Brian Dawkins, safety (Philadelphia Eagles, 1996-2008; Denver Broncos, 2009-2011)
9. Alan Faneca, guard (Pittsburgh Steelers, 1998-2007; New York Jets, 2008-09; Arizona Cardinals, 2010)
10. Chris Hinton, offensive tackle/guard (Baltimore Colts, 1983; Indianapolis Colts, 1984-89; Atlanta Falcons, 1990-93; Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95)
11. Torry Holt, wide receiver (St. Louis Rams, 1999-2008; Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009)
12. Joe Jacoby, offensive tackle (Washington Redskins, 1981-1993)
13. Edgerrin James, running back (Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005; Arizona Cardinals, 2006-08; Seattle Seahawks, 2009)
14. Jimmy Johnson, coach (Dallas Cowboys, 1989-1993; Miami Dolphins, 1996-99)
15. Mike Kenn, offensive tackle (Atlanta Falcons, 1978-1994)
16. Ty Law, cornerback (New England Patriots, 1995-2004; New York Jets, 2005, ’08; Kansas City Chiefs, 2006-07; Denver Broncos, 2009)
17. John Lynch, safety (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1993-2003; Denver Broncos, 2004-07)
18. Clay Matthews, linebacker (Cleveland Browns, 1978-1993; Atlanta Falcons, 1994-96)
19. Kevin Mawae, center (Seattle Seahawks, 1994-97; New York Jets, 1998-2005; Tennessee Titans, 2006-09)
20. Karl Mecklenburg, linebacker (Denver Broncos, 1983-1994)
21. Terrell Owens, wide receiver (San Francisco 49ers, 1996-2003; Philadelphia Eagles, 2004-05; Dallas Cowboys, 2006-08; Buffalo Bills, 2009; Cincinnati Bengals, 2010)
22. Jason Taylor, defensive end (Miami Dolphins, 1997-2007, ’09, 2011; Washington Redskins, 2008; New York Jets, 2010)
23. LaDainian, Tomlinson, running back (San Diego Chargers, 2001-09; New York Jets, 2010-11)
24. Hines Ward, wide receiver (Pittsburgh Steelers, 1998-2011)
25. Kurt Warner, quarterback (St. Louis Rams, 1998-2003; New York Giants, 2004; Arizona Cardinals, 2005-09)
26. Darren Woodson, safety (Dallas Cowboys, 1992-2003)