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Friday, December 3, 2021

Willis, Young among former 49ers advancing to Hall of Fame semifinalist stage

Santa Clara – The semifinalist stage of the Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed some former 49ers and a first-year character.

Among the 26 semifinalists of the modern era are:

— Wide receiver Ankan Boldin, who is on the ballot in his formative year and played for the 49ers from 2013-15 at the end of his 14-year career.

— surpassing second-time semifinalist Ricky Waters, who made the Pro Bowl each of his first three years on the 49ers (1992–94) before ending his 10-year careers with the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks.

– Defensive lineman Bryant Young, a 2020 finalist and three-time semifinalist, who was replaced this month by 49ers Edward J. DeBartolo was honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

– Linebacker Patrick Willis, a semifinalist in his third year of eligibility after playing his entire career (2007–14) with the 49ers, as was the case with Young’s NFL tenure. Ahead of the December 19 game against Atlanta, Willis will be honored by John Taylor in the 49ers Hall of Fame next month.

The 49-person selection committee will narrow down the list of nominees to 15 modern-era finalists, as well as Dick Vermeal, Cliff Branch and Art McNally from the coaches, contributors and senior committees.

Other semifinalists:

Eric Allen, cornerback: 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Raiders. (Times as Semifinalist: 2 – 2021-22)

Jared Allen, Defensive End: 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers. (Times as Semifinalist: 2 – 2021-22)

Willie Anderson, Offensive Tackles: 1996–2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens. (Times as Semifinalist: 2 – 2021-22)

Ronde Barber, defensive back: 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Times as Semifinalist: 5 – 2018-2022)

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Tony Bocelli, Offensive Tackles: 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (Injured Reserve). (Times as Semifinalist: 7 – 2016-2022)

Leroy Butler, Safety: 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers. (Times as Semifinalist: 5 – 2018-2022)

Eddie George, Running Back: 1996-2003 Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers-Titans, 2004 Dallas Cowboys. (Times as Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)

Devin Hester, Return Specialist/Receiver: 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens. (Times as Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)

Tory Holt, wide receiver: 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars. (Times as Semifinalist: 8 – 2015-2022)

Andre Johnson, wide receiver: 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016, Tennessee Titans. (Times as Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)

Robert Mathis, Defensive End/Linebacker: 2003-2016 Indianapolis Colts. (Times as Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)

Sam Mills, linebacker: 986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers. (Times as Semifinalist: 5 – 2016, 2019-2022)

Richard Seymour, defensive lineman: 2001–08 New England Patriots, 2009–2012 Raiders. (Times as Semifinalist: 5 – 2018-2022)

Steve Smith, wide receiver: 2001-2013 Carolina Panthers, 2014-16 Baltimore Ravens. (Times as Semifinalist: 1 – 2022)

Steve Tasker, Special Team/Wide Receiver: 1985–86 Houston Oilers, 1986–1997 Buffalo Bills. (Times as Semifinalist: 9 – 2004, 2008-2010, 2012-13, 2020-22)

Fred Taylor, Running Back: 1998–2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009–2010 New England Patriots. (Times as Semifinalist: 3 – 2020-22)

Zack Thomas, linebacker: 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys. (Times as Semifinalist: 4 – 2019-2022)

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