Former Eagles Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens are among the 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.
Both Dawkins and Owens were finalists last year.
The Hall’s 48 selectors, composed of writers, broadcasters and ex-players, will vote once more next month to reduce the list of 27 to 15 modern-era finalists, then meet on Feb. 3, the day before Super Bowl LII, to discuss each of the finalists and select the 2018 class. Ordinarily, there are just 25 semifinalists, but there was a three-way tie for the last spot this year.
Dawkins, a nine-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team all-pro, made it to the final 10 last year in his first year of eligibility. No more than five players and/or coaches can be selected in a single year.
Owens, who played for the Eagles in 2004 and ’05, has been a finalist the last two years.
Six first-year eligible candidates — cornerback Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss and defensive lineman Richard Seymour — are among the semifinalists.
Four players who have been previously eligible for the Hall — safety LeRoy Butler, defensive ends Leslie O’Neal and Simeon Rice, and cornerback Everson Walls — are first-time semifinalists.
The other 15 semifinalists: running backs Edgerrin James and Roger Craig; wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Hines Ward; offensive linemen Joe Jacoby, Alan Faneca, Tony Boselli and Kevin Mawae; linebacker Karl Mecklenburg; safeties Steve Atwater and John Lynch; cornerback Ty Law; and coaches Jimmy Johnson and Don Coryell.
James, Bruce, Jacoby, Faneca, Boselli, Mawae, Mecklenburg, Atwater, Lynch, Law, Johnson and Coryell all have been finalists at least once.
Dawkins, who currently works for the Eagles as a football operations executive, was a second-round pick of the Eagles out of Clemson in 1996. He played for them for 13 years.
He finished his career with the Denver Broncos, playing three seasons for them before retiring after the 2011 season.
Dawkins is the only defensive back in league history to record 25-plus career sacks (26), interceptions (37) and forced fumbles (36). The late Jim Johnson basically built his defense around Dawkins, who redefined the safety position with his unique skills.
“Jim’s defense was designed around Dawk and his playmaking ability,’’ former Eagles safety Quintin Mikell, who played alongside Dawkins, said last year.
Owens played 15 years in the NFL with five teams. His 15,934 career receiving yards rank second in history. Only Jerry Rice has more (22,895). Owens is fifth all-time in touchdown catches (153) and eighth in career receptions (1,078).
In his first season with the Eagles, he caught 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns in 14 games before suffering severe injuries to his right ankle and leg that were thought to be season-ending.
But he had surgery to repair the damage, rehabbed and somehow returned to play in Super Bowl XXXIX seven weeks later. He not only played, but had nine catches for 122 yards in the Eagles’ 24-21 loss to the Patriots.
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