Fourteen players in their first year of eligibility appear among the 130 modern-era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fames Class of 2021.
Among those first-year eligible players, who include quarterback Peyton Manning, defensive back Charles Woodson and wide receiver Calvin Johnson, are two players with Alabama football roots defensive end Justin Tuck and wide receiver Roddy White.
Tuck and White join five other players from Alabama high schools and colleges on the list of modern-era nominees -- running back Shaun Alexander, offensive tackle Willie Anderson, linebacker Cornelius Bennett, offensive tackle Chris Samuels and linebacker Takeo Spikes. Each of those five players is appearing among the modern-era nominees for at least the third year in a row.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame released the list of modern-era nominees on Wednesday night. A player is considered modern era if he has been retired for at least five seasons and was active within the past 25 seasons.
Tuck (Central High School in Rockford) helped the New York Giants win two Super Bowl championships after joining the team as a third-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft. Tuck made first-team All-Pro in 2008 and earned another Pro Bowl invitation in 2010.
Tuck recorded 66.5 sacks and forced 20 fumbles during his 11-year career.
White (UAB) joined the Atlanta Falcons as the 27th pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, and he went on to set franchise records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Along the way, White earned Pro Bowl recognition annually from 2008 through 2011 and was a first-team All-Pro in 2010, when he led the NFL with 115 receptions and recorded the fourth of his six straight seasons with 1,000 receiving yards.
During his 11 seasons with the Falcons, White caught 808 passes for 10,863 yards and 63 touchdowns.
Alexander (Alabama) went to the Pro Bowl in 2003, 2004 and 2005, when his career hit its peak. In 2005, Alexander won The Associated Press NFL MVP Award and the Bert Bell Award as the NFL Player of the Year as the leagues leader in rushing yards. He set an NFL single-season record with 28 touchdowns and led the Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2005. Alexanders 100 rushing touchdowns rank eighth in NFL history.
Anderson (Vigor High School in Prichard, Auburn) became a fixture at right offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals after joining the team as the 10th pick in the 1996 NFL Draft. Anderson started every Cincinnati game except for two from 1997 through 2006. From 2003 through 2006, he was on the AFC Pro Bowl team and, in 2004, 2005 and 2006, he made first-team All-Pro.
Bennett (Ensley High School in Birmingham, Alabama) was the second player picked in the 1996 NFL Draft. He played in four straight Super Bowls with the Bills and was a Pro Bowl selection in each of those seasons. He also was an All-Pro in 1988, played in 206 games and appeared in another Super Bowl with the Atlanta Falcons.
Samuels (Shaw High School in Mobile, Alabama) was the third player picked in the 2000 NFL Draft. He went on to make the NFC Pro Bowl team six times from 2001 to 2008. Samuels spent 10 seasons with the Washington Redskins before spinal stenosis forced his retirement after starting at left offensive tackle in all 141 games in which he played.
Spikes (Auburn) went to the Bengals with the 13th selection in the 1998 NFL Draft and played for five teams during a 15-year, 219-game career. Spikes' top seasons came in 2003 and 2004 with the Bills, when he earned Pro Bowl invitations. He also made first-team All-Pro in 2004. His 1,425 tackles are the most for an Auburn alumnus in the NFL.
Fifteen men who played at Alabama high schools and colleges are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The states Hall of Famers are Robert Brazile (Vigor), Buck Buchanan (Parker High School in Birmingham), Frank Gatski (Auburn), Kevin Greene (Auburn), John Hannah (Albertville High School, Alabama), Don Hutson (Alabama), Walter Jones (Aliceville High School), Joe Namath (Alabama), Ozzie Newsome (Colbert County High School, Alabama), Terrell Owens (Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City), Ken Stabler (Foley High School, Alabama), John Stallworth (Central High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama A&M), Bart Starr (Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama), Dwight Stephenson (Alabama) and Derrick Thomas (Alabama).
The modern-era nominees will be narrowed to 25 semifinalists in November. The semifinalists will provide the 15 finalists for consideration on Feb. 6, 2021, in Tampa, Florida, by the 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Also under consideration at that time will be wide receiver Drew Pearson, the senior nominee (predating the 25-year window for modern-era nominees); Tom Flores, the coach finalist; and Bill Nunn, the contributor finalist.
The list of modern-era nominees includes:
Quarterbacks:Drew Bledsoe, Randall Cunningham, Jake Delhomme, Jeff Garcia, Dave Krieg, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair
Running backs:Shaun Alexander, Mike Alstott, Tiki Barber, Earnest Byner, Larry Centers, Corey Dillon, Warrick Dunn, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Steven Jackson, Jamal Lewis, Eric Metcalf, Glyn Milburn, Lorenzo Neal, Fred Taylor, Herschel Walker, Ricky Watters
Wide receivers: Donald Driver, Henry Ellard, Torry Holt, Calvin Johnson, Chad Johnson, Derrick Mason, Muhsin Muhammad, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker, Roddy White
Tight end:Dallas Clark, Ben Coates, Keith Jackson, Brent Jones, Heath Miller, Jeremy Shockey, Wesley Walls
Offensive linemen:Willie Anderson (T), Matt Birk (C), Tony Boselli (T), Lomas Brown (T), Ruben Brown (G), Alan Faneca (G), DBrickshaw Ferguson (T), Kevin Glover (C/G), Jordan Gross (T), Kent Hull (C), Olin Kreutz (C), Chris Samuels (T), Logan Makins (G), Tom Nalen (C), Chris Samuels (T), Jeff Saturday (C), Chris Snee (G), Brian Waters (G), Richmond Webb (T), Erik Williams (T), Steve Wisniewski (G)
Defensive linemen:John Abraham (DE), Jared Allen (DE), Ray Childress (DT/DE), LaRoi Glover (DT/NT), Casey Hampton (DT/NT), Leslie ONeal (DE), Michael Dean Perry (DT/DE), Simeon Rice (DE), Richard Seymour (DT), Justin Smith (DE), Neil Smith (DE), Greg Townsend (DE/DT/NT), Justin Tuck (DE), Kevin Williams (DT), Bryant Young (DT)
Linebackers: Cornelius Bennett, Lance Briggs, Tedy Bruschi, London Fletcher, Seth Joyner, Clay Matthews Jr., Jerod Mayo, Willie McGinest, Sam Mills, Joey Porter, Chris Spielman, Takeo Spikes, Pat Swilling, Darryl Talley, Zach Thomas, Patrick Willis.
Defensive backs:Eric Allen (CB), Ronde Barber (CB/S), LeRoy Butler (S), Nick Collins (S), Merton Hanks (S), Rodney Harrison (S), James Hasty (DB), Albert Lewis (CB), John Lynch (S), Tim McDonald (S), Allen Rossum (DB), Asanta Samuel (DB), Bob Sanders (S), Charles Tillman (CB), Troy Vincent (CB), Adrian Wilson (S), Charles Woodson (CB/S), Darren Woodson (S)
Kickers/punters:David Akers (K), Gary Anderson (K), Jason Elam (K), Jeff Feagles (P), Jason Hanson (K), John Kasay (K), Sean Landeta (P), Ryan Longwell (K), Nick Lowery (K), Reggie Roby (P), Rohn Stark (P), Matt Turk (P)
Special teams:Josh Cribbs, Mel Grady, Brian Mitchell, Steve Tasker
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitterat @AMarkG1.