Football

Who goes in next? Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot gets tougher

Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. AP

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will induct its Class of 2017 on Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson headline a class that also includes safety Kenny Easley, defensive end Jason Taylor, kicker Morten Andersen, quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Terrell Davis.

That brings the number of Hall of Famers to 310.

So who’s next?

Terrell Owens, in his second year of eligibility, again was eliminated in the reduction vote from 15 to 10, along with Isaac Bruce, Don Coryell, Alan Faneca and Joe Jacoby. John Lynch, Brian Dawkins, Tony Boselli, Ty Law and Kevin Mawae were eliminated in the cut to five.

Expect most of those 10 to make it onto the list of finalists again next year.

But the Class of 2018 has a solid group of first-ballot eligible players, who have waited five years for their chance for eternity. The list includes Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis and Randy Moss.

Here are some notable first-ballot eligible players in the next four years:

Class of 2018

Ronde Barber, Ray Lewis, Jeff Saturday, Donald Driver, Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson, Brian Urlacher, Randy Moss

Class of 2019

Dallas Clark, Tony Gonzales, Ed Reed, Champ Bailey

Class of 2020

Troy Polamalu, Reggie Wayne, Patrick Willis

Class of 2021

Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Calvin Johnson, Jerod Mayo, Justin Tuck, Jared Allen, Heath Miller, Marshawn Lynch, Logan Mankins

Charean Williams: 817-390-7760, @NFLCharean

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