Former Pittsburgh players Russ Grimm, an offensive lineman and pass-rushing ends Chris Doleman and Rickey Jackson are on the list to be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era candidates. That list gets bumped to 17 finalist nominees with Seniors' committee selections Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little.
The vote to 15 finalists will be named Jan. 7, 2010, and the new four-to-seven Pro Football Hall of Fame members will be announced Feb. 6, 2010 at 5 p.m. on the NFL Network, the night before Super Bowl XLIV.
Grimm was a third-round pick by the Washington Redskins in the 1981 NFL Draft, and he played 11 seasons until 1991. He was selected to four Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro performer four times as well with 114 NFL starts.
Grimm mixes it up with the Hogs.
Grimm anchored the Hogs offensive line that fueled three Super Bowl titles and earned him a spot on the NFL's All-Decade Team in the 1980s.
Doleman was a No. 1 pick, the fourth overall selection, by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1985 NFL Draft and played 15 seasons for the Vikings (1985-93, '99); Atlanta Falcons (1994-95) and San Francisco 49ers (1996-98). He played in 232 games overall and was an All-Pro selection three times. He also played in eight Pro Bowls.
Doleman tallied 151 quarterback sacks, recovered a fumble for a touchdown and recorded two safeties and eight interceptions, two that he returned for touchdowns. Doleman had eight seasons with double-digit sack totals that included a career-high 21 during the 1989 season.
Chris Doleman ready to drill a running back.
Doleman played at Pitt from 1981-84, and the Panthers were 11-1 his freshman season, but got steadily worse at 9-3 in 1982, 8-3-1 in 1983 and 3-7-1 in 1984.
Jackson also was a 1981 NFL Draft pick, but he went in the second round to the New Orleans Saints and played 15 seasons until 1993 with the Saints and two more years with the San Francisco 49ers. He was in six Pro Bowls and selected as an All-Pro performer four times.
Jackson tallied 128 career sacks with eight interceptions and one safety. Considered to be among the hardest-hitting linebackers in his era and certainly among the most-productive, Jackson keyed a turnaround for the Saints in the late 1980s and early '90s. He had 290 career tackles at Pitt with 166 solo stops.
Grimm and Jackson both were lettermen at Pitt from 1977-80. The Panthers were 9-2-1 for Jackie Sherrill in 1977, dropped to 8-4 the next season, but were 11-1 in 1980 and '81 to finish just out of the national championship race. Pitt won three of four bowl games following those seasons.
There are only four former Pitt players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They are quarterback Dan Marino, running back Tony Dorsett, tight end Mike Ditka and linebacker Joe Schmidt.
Along with Grimm and Jackson, there are four first-year eligible players with Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Aeneas Williams also being considered for final selection. The other 21, including Grimm and Jackson, have gotten this far at least once each. Former coach Don Coryell and contributors Art Modell and Paul Tagliambue are among the semifinalists as well.
Here is the complete Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist list:
Cliff Branch, WR -- 1972-1985 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Tim Brown, WR/KR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cris Carter, WR -- 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
Don Coryell, Coach -- 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
Roger Craig, RB -- 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
Terrell Davis, RB -- 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
Dermontti Dawson, C -- 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Richard Dent, DE -- 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Doleman, DE/LB -- 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Greene, LB/DE -- 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Russ Grimm, G -- 1981-1991 Washington Redskins
Ray Guy, P -- 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Charles Haley, DE/LB -- 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
Lester Hayes, CB -- 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Rickey Jackson, LB -- 1981-1993 New Orleans Saints, 1994-95 San Francisco 49ers
Cortez Kennedy, DT -- 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
Art Modell, Owner -- 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens
John Randle, DT -- 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks
Andre Reed, WR -- 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Jerry Rice, WR -- 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Seattle Seahawks
Shannon Sharpe, TE -- 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
Emmitt Smith, RB -- 1990-2002 Dallas Cowboys, 2003-04 Arizona Cardinals
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner -- 1989-2006 National Football League
Steve Tasker, Special Teams/WR -- 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills
Aeneas Williams, CB/S -- 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
Dick LeBeau, CB -- 1959-1972 Detroit Lions
Floyd Little, RB -- 1967-1975 Denver Broncos
Fans are encouraged to visit www.fanschoice.com daily to vote for their favorites before the next Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee reduction vote to 15 modern-era finalists in January.
Grimm, Doleman, Jackson Hall Semifinalists
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