Wolf Reaches HOF Semifinal Found

Former Packers general manager Ron Wolf is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as is outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene.

Ron Wolf, the architect of the Green Bay Packers' renaissance, is a first-time semifinalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He's one of 26 semifinalists, joining Bill Parcells, Jerome Bettis and two players with familiar names to Packers fans: outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene and Clay Matthews, the father of the Packers' outside linebacker by the same name.

The list was announced Tuesday by the Hall of Fame following a vote by its selection committee, which chose the group from a list of 105 preliminary nominees. Among those cut was former Packers safety LeRoy Butler.

Wolf, hired in 1991, put an immediate stamp on the franchise by naming Mike Holmgren his coach and acquiring an unknown quarterback by the name of Brett Favre for an at-the-time staggering cost of a first-round draft choice. With Wolf signing Reggie White, among others, and Favre blossoming into a three-time MVP under Holmgren, the Packers reached three NFC Championship Games and won Super Bowl XXXI.

Greene is the NFL's all-time leader in sacks among linebackers with 160, starring for Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Carolina along the way.

Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields is the only first-year eligible player to make the list. Parcells also is considered a first-year candidate under new requirements that were put in place in 2008, after he had been a nominee in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

The new rule makes it mandatory for coaches, like players, to be retired for five consecutive seasons. Before that, coaches were eligible immediately upon retirement. Parcells won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants in 1987 and 1991, then coached the Patriots and Jets before retiring in 1999. He returned to coach the Cowboys in 2003.

Among other semifinalists for the Class of 2012 are wide receivers Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed, along with former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr.

Bettis ranks fifth on the NFL rushing list with 13,662 yards in 13 seasons, three for the Rams and a decade with the Steelers, with whom he won the 2006 Super Bowl in his final game. Martin ranks fourth with 14,101 yards with the Patriots and Jets from 1995-2005.

In addition to Parcells, the other semifinalist coach is Don Coryell, who led the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers.

Defensive semifinalists include DBs Steve Atwater, Donnie Shell and Aeneas Williams, DEs/LBs Chris Doleman, Greene and Charles Haley, LBs Clay Matthews and Karl Mecklenburg and DT Cortez Kennedy.

The others are running backs Roger Craig and Terrell Davis, center Dermontti Dawson, tackle Willie Roaf, special teams/WR Steve Tasker and contributor George Young, who worked for the Baltimore Colts, Dolphins, Giants and in the NFL office.

Four previously eligible candidates made it to the semifinals for the first time: Atwater, Matthews, Mecklenburg and contributor Ron Wolf, who also worked for the Raiders, Buccaneers and Jets.

The group of semifinalists will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists and announced in early January. The final list of candidates also will include two senior nominees: former Steelers defensive back Jack Butler and former Lions guard Dick Stanfel.

Between four and seven enshrinees will be announced the day before the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, and inducted in August.

The full list:

• Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets

• Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

• 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

• Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner – 1979-2000 San Francisco 49ers

• 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

• Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

• Cortez Kennedy, DT – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

• Curtis Martin, RB – 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets

• Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons

• Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos

• Bill Parcells, Coach – 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-96 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys

• Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

• Willie Roaf, T – 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs

• Donnie Shell, S – 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers

• Will Shields, G – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

• Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League

• Steve Tasker, ST/WR – 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills

• Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams

• Ron Wolf, Contributor – 1963-1974, 1978-1990 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1975-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1990 New York Jets, 1991-2001 Green Bay Packers

• George Young, Contributor – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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