Two other longtime Packers who had made the list of 131 preliminary nominees, receiver Sterling Sharpe and safety LeRoy Butler, did not make the cut. Nor did the father of Packers rookie linebacker Clay Matthews III, Clay Matthews.
Four first-year eligible players, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Aeneas Williams, headline the semifinalists. From there, the list of 25 will be cut to 15 – actually 17, with the inclusion of Seniors Committee candidates Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little. The finalists will be announced on Jan. 7, with the four- to seven-member Class of 2010 being voted upon and announced on Feb. 6, the day before Super Bowl XLIV.
Greene, who was named outside linebackers coach on Feb. 3, brought the same hard-charging desire to the sideline and practice field as he did during his playing career. Greene retired with 160 sacks – most ever for a linebacker and third in NFL history behind Bruce Smith and Reggie White. Greene was a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. He reached double-digits sacks in 10 seasons – including twice posting league-high figures -- while playing in six conference championship games and one Super Bowl.
This is the third time that Greene has been a semifinalist. In a recent Packer Report Magazine feature, almost every Hall of Fame voter surveyed believed Greene deserved his bust in Canton.
Butler, a member of the all-1990s team and a trend-setter at his position because he was both ballhawk and blitzer, played safety – a position that generally has been ignored by Hall of Fame voters. Sharpe was superb during his seven-year career, but a spinal condition cut his career short and his numbers just don't measure up with some of the other receivers in the pipeline, such as the incomparable Rice. Sharpe was one of 25 semifinalists in the eyes of the fans at FansChoice.com, which has a ballot being run in conjunction with the Hall of Fame and Van Heusen.
The 25 modern-era semifinalists
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