Will the Dallas Cowboys have another Hall of Famer in the 2018 class?
A year after owner Jerry Jones was inducted as a contributor, the Cowboys have ties to three of the 27 semifinalists named for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
Former receiver Terrell Owens, coach Jimmy Johnson and defensive back Everson Walls all made the cut to 27. The Hall usually has 25 semifinalists but there is 27 this year because it includes players who tied for the 25th spot.
It’s the third straight time Owens has made it to this point, fifth consecutive year for Johnson and Walls’ first time. Walls is in his final year of eligibility.
The list will be dwindled to 15 finalists in January. To be elected, a finalist must get a minimum of 80 percent of the votes cast by the selection panel.
Owens was a finalist for Hall of Fame honors a year ago, but fell just short. He is a member of the 1,000-catch club, finishing his career with 1,078 catches for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns. The 1,078 catches rank eighth and the 15,934 yards are the second-most in NFL history.
In his three years with the Cowboys from 2006-08, Owens posted 1,000-yard seasons with double-digit touchdowns in each of them. Owens made six Pro Bowls and five times was a first-team All-Pro, the only player in history to earn All-Pro with three different teams.
Johnson is best known for coaching the Cowboys to their first two Super Bowl titles in the 1990s. He became the first coach to win championships at the college and pro levels, and has since been joined in that club along with his successor Barry Switzer and Seattle coach Pete Carroll.
But Johnson coached just nine seasons in the NFL. He finished with a career record of 80-64. During his induction weekend, Jones said Johnson deserves a spot alongside him in the Hall of Fame.
Walls, meanwhile, played 13 seasons in the NFL, including his first nine with the Cowboys (1981-89). Walls was selected to four Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro once and second-team twice in his career.
Walls led the league in interceptions three times (1981, 1982 and 1985) and finished his career with 57, tied for 13th-most in league history. But Walls might be best remembered as the man who former San Francisco tight end Dwight Clark soared over in the end zone for “The Catch” in the 1981 NFC Championship Game.
Other semifinalists include first-year eligible players such as cornerback/safety Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss and defensive end/defensive tackle Richard Seymour. Also making the cut like Walls for the first time despite being eligible in previous years include safety LeRoy Butler and defensive ends Leslie O’Neal and Simeon Rice.
A nominated player or coach must have been retired for five consecutive seasons to be eligible.