Darren Woodson joined Jimmy Johnson and Charles Haley on the semifinal list for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It is the first time Woodson has made the initial cut. Johnson became a semifinalist for the first time last year.
Haley, a defensive end for the Cowboys and the 49ers, made the semifinal list for the 10th time. He is a five-time finalist.
Woodson, who played for the Cowboys from 1992-2003, earned five Pro Bowl selections and three times was an All-Pro. He won three Super Bowls.
Only five pure safeties are in Canton, but safeties John Lynch and Steve Atwater also made the list of semifinalists.
The selection committee reduced the ballot from 113 to 26, with a tie for the final spot. Receiver Torry Holt, receiver Isaac Bruce, cornerback Ty Law, offensive tackle Orlando Pace, running back Edgerrin James, offensive lineman Kevin Mawae, linebacker Junior Seau and quarterback Kurt Warner were the first-year eligible candidates to make the cut.
Selectors will reduce the modern-era candidates to 15 by mail ballot, with an announcement of the finalists Jan. 8. They will join the two previously announced contributor candidates – Bill Polian and Ron Wolf – as well as seniors candidate Mick Tingelhoff on the final ballot.
Selectors will elect the Class of 2015 at their annual selection meeting Jan. 31, the day before Super Bowl XLIX. It takes 80 percent positive vote from the selection committee for induction into the Hall of Fame.
Rules stipulate that between four and eight new members are selected each year.