Pro Football Hall of Fame 2023: Semifinalists includes Miami Dolphins’ Zach Thomas

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has released their list of semifinalists for the induction class of 2023, and in what should come as no surprise, Miami Dolphins legend Zach Thomas is on the list. Again. In his tenth year of eligibility, could Thomas finally get the ultimate celebration that he so clearly deserves?

Thomas spent 13 years in the NFL, 12 of them with the Dolphins. He tallied 1,734 total tackles, 20.5 sacks, 17 interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, and 4 touchdowns. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time First-Team All-Pro selection and was named to the Second Team twice. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 200s. He is the only player in NFL history to reach the milestones of 1,700 tackles, 20 sacks, 15 interceptions, and 15 forced fumbles in his first 13 years in the league – and he is still not in the Hall of Fame.

Thomas has been named a semifinalist for the fifth straight year, and he has been a finalist each of the last three years.

This year’s semifinalist list includes five players in their first year of eligibility, including offensive lineman Jahri Evans, defensive lineman Dwight Freeney, linebacker James Harrison, defensive back Darrelle Revis, and offensive lineman Joe Thomas. Wide receiver Henry Ellard and linebacker London Fletcher, despite previous eligibility, both made the semifinalist list for the first time.

Ellard and cornerback Albert Lewis (previously a semifinalist in 2013) are both in their final year of eligibility for modern-era consideration.

The full list of 28 semifinalists this year is:

  • Eric Allen, CB – 1988-1994 Philly Eagles1995-97 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2021-23)
  • Jared Allen, DE – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings2014-15 Chicago Bears2015 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2021-23)
  • Willie Anderson, T – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals2008 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2021-23)
  • Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2018-2023)
  • Anquan Boldin, WR – 2003-09 Arizona Cardinals2010-12 Baltimore Ravens, 2013-15 San Francisco 49ers2016 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
  • Henry Ellard, WR – 1983-1993 Los Angeles Rams1994-98 Washington Redskins, 1998 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
  • Jahri Evans, G – 2006-2016 New Orleans Saints, 2017 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
  • London Fletcher, LB – 1998-2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002-06 Buffalo Bills, 2007-2013 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
  • Dwight Freeney, DE – 2002-2012 Indianapolis Colts2013-14 San Diego Chargers2015 Arizona Cardinals, 2016 Atlanta Falcons2017 Seattle Seahawks, 2017 Detroit Lions | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
  • James Harrison, LB – 2002-2012, 2014-17 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2013 Cincinnati Bengals, 2017 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
  • Rodney Harrison, S – 1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-08 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2021, 2023)
  • Devin Hester, PR/KR/WR – 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
  • Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 – 2015-2023)
  • Andre Johnson, WR – 2003-2014 Houston Texans2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
  • Albert Lewis, CB – 1983-1993 Kansas City Chiefs, 1994-98 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2013, 2023)
  • Robert Mathis, DE/LB – 2003-2016 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
  • Darrelle Revis, CB – 2007-2012, 2015-16 New York Jets, 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2014 New England Patriots, 2017 Kansas City Chiefs | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
  • Steve Smith Sr., WRs – 2001-2013 Carolina Panthers, 2014-16 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
  • Fred Taylor, RBs – 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2020-23)
  • Joe Thomas, T – 2007-2017 Cleveland Browns | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2023)
  • Zach Thomas, LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2019-2023)
  • Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2017-2023)
  • DeMarcus Ware, LB/DE – 2005-2013 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-16 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
  • Ricky Watters, RB – 1992-94 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-97 Philadelphia Eagles, 1998-2001 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2020, 2022-23)
  • Reggie Wayne, W.R. – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2020-23)
  • Vince Wilfork, DT – 2004-2014 New England Patriots, 2015-16 Houston Texans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2022-23)
  • Patrick Willis, LB – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2020-23)
  • Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2015, 2017, 2019-2023)

The semifinalist list will be pared down to 15 finalists before the final vote before the Super Bowl. They will be joined by the nominees from the Coach/Contributor Committee (Don Coryell) and the Seniors Committee (Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko, Ken Riley). The Class of 2023 will be announced at the NFL Honors awards show on February 9, 2023.

Enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame will happen in August.

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