Holmgren Among First-Year HOF Nominees

Mike Holmgren, Ron Wolf, Sterling Sharpe and LeRoy Butler are among the 126 modern-era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014. Kevin Greene is back on the ballot after being a finalist in 2013.

Mike Holmgren, Ron Wolf, Sterling Sharpe and LeRoy Butler are among the 126 modern-era candidates for the Pro Hall of Fame's Class of 2014.

Holmgren is one of 16 first-time candidates. With Wolf, the architects of the Packers' rebirth have a shot at football immortality.

Taking over the perennially inept Packers in 1992, Holmgren lost his debut to Minnesota 23-20. Then came a Week 2 game in the sweltering heat of Tampa Bay, a 31-3 loss in which Vinny Testaverde was nearly perfect (22-of-25, 363 yards, two touchdowns) and Don Majkowski and Brett Favre were miserable (18-of-29, 148 yards, two interceptions).

"I was thinking to myself as I got on the airplane, ‘Whoa,'" recalled Wolf when he presented Holmgren for the Packers Hall of Fame in 2012, "because we had just lost (linebacker) Mark D'Onofrio forever, and this is his first game. He had made 18 unassisted tackles. He was having one heck of a game. You can't lose players of that caliber. And I thought, ‘Well, I went 0-14 in Tampa, it looks like we're going to go 0-16 in Green Bay.'"

Holmgren's "Whoa" moment came a week later, an unforgettable home game against Cincinnati.

"I was on the sideline, we were down 14-0," Holmgren recalled. "I said, ‘I'm never going to win a game in this league. I'm going to be the shortest-tenured head coach ever. This is too big for me. This is not working.'

"Then we won this crazy game at the end," Holmgren said of Favre's last-second touchdown pass to shock the Bengals.

In all, nine players have Packers ties, including outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene.

Here are the bios, courtesy of the Hall of Fame.

S LEROY BUTLER  – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers. Totaled 38 interceptions for 533 yards and 1 touchdown during 12-year career. Recorded 20.5 sacks in 181 games and was named to four Pro Bowls. Selected first-team All-Pro four times.

WR MARK CLAYTON – 1983-1992 Miami Dolphins, 1993 Green Bay Packers. Compiled 8,974 yards on 582 receptions and 84 touchdowns during 11-year career. Selected to five Pro Bowls and led the league in touchdown receptions in both 1984 (18) and 1988 (14).

LB KEVIN GREENE (also DE) – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers. Retired after 15-season career as NFL's third all-time leading sacker (160). A member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s and five-time Pro Bowler, had 10 seasons with 10 or more sacks. Current Packers outside linebackers coach and a finalist last year.

Coach MIKE HOLMGREN – 1992-98 Green Bay Packers, 1999-2008 Seattle Seahawks.  Led teams to an overall 174-122 record over a 17-year career. Compiled 14 winning seasons during his career including eight straight from 1992-99. Led teams to eight division titles, three conference championships and one Super Bowl win. This is Holmgren's first year of eligibility.

P SEAN LANDETA – 1985-1993 New York Giants, 1993-96, 2003-04 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1997 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1998 Green Bay Packers, 1999-2002, 2005 Philadelphia Eagles. Helped teams win six division, two conference and two Super Bowl championships. In 284 games over 21 seasons amassed 60,707 yards on 1,401 punts for a net average of 43.3. Named to two Pro Bowls and selected first-team All-Pro three times.

DT STEVE MCMICHAEL – 1980 New England Patriots, 1981-1993 Chicago Bears, 1994 Green Bay Packers. One of the most durable lineman of era, played 213 games during 15-year career. A three-time All-Pro choice,  ecorded 95.5 overall sacks and three safeties.

RB ERIC METCALF (also WR/PR/KR) – 1989-1994 Cleveland Browns, 1995-96 Atlanta Falcons, 1997 San Diego Chargers, 1998 Arizona Cardinals, 1999 Carolina Panthers, 2001 Washington Redskins, 2002 Green Bay Packers. Accumulated more than 17,000 all-purpose yards during 13-season NFL career. Twice named All-Pro and voted to three Pro Bowls as kick returner. Career total included 541 receptions. Led NFL once in kickoff return yardage, punt return yardage and punt return average.

WR STERLING SHARPE – 1988-1994 Green Bay Packers. Three-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection. Led the NFL in receptions three times in seven seasons. Finished his career with 595 receptions, 8,134 receiving yards and 65 touchdowns.

GM RON WOLF – Team Executive/General Manager – 1991-2001 Green Bay Packers. Orchestrated turnaround of once down-trodden franchise. Under tutelage and excellent drafting of players, the Packers claimed back-to-back NFC championships, three straight division crowns, and a victory in Super Bowl XXXI.

For the full list, CLICK HERE.

The includes 16 first-year eligible candidates: QB Trent Green, RBs Shaun Alexander and Warrick Dunn, WR Marvin Harrison, OL Willie Anderson, Walter Jones, LBs Derrick Brooks, Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest and Zach Thomas, DBs Rodney Harrison, Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain, and coach Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden and Holmgren.

From the list of 126, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees. The list of 25 semifinalist nominees will be announced in late November. That semifinalist list will be further reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists and announced in early January. 

The Class of 2014 will be selected from the list of the 15 modern-era finalists plus the two senior nominees (former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders punter Ray Guy and former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Claude Humphrey) who were selected last month by the Hall of Fame's Senior Selection Committee.

Voting for the Class of 2014 will be conducted at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee's annual meeting, which will be held in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 the day before Super Bowl XLVIII. The election results will be announced at a live announcement show that evening.

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