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Zach Thomas Hears from Pro Football Hall of Fame And So Do Others With University of Miami Ties

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame announcement of its 15 modern-era finalists for the Class of 2022 has a South Florida feel.

Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas is returning as a finalist for the third consecutive year while three former University of Miami stars are joining the list of 15 modern-era players in their first year of eligibility.

Receiver Andre Johnson, who played primarily for the Houston Texans during a 14-year career, and returner Devin Hester, who played primarily for the Chicago Bears during an eight-year career, are finalists in their first year of eligibility.

Receiver Reggie Wayne, another University of Miami standout, also was is a modern-era finalist and this marks the third time he reaches that plateau.

“I want to thank the Hall of Fame selectors for choosing me as one of the 15 finalists and for considering me for enshrinement once again,” Thomas said. “I’ve always said getting this far in the process is an honor and I feel no different this year.

“I am humbled to be listed in the company of these 14 other great players.”

Former Cowboy edge rusher DeMarcus Ware is another first-year eligible player who is among the 15 finalists.

Former Saints linebacker Sam Mills, like Thomas, also becomes a finalist for the third time and will be considered by selectors that will meet in the next few weeks to vote on the Class of 2022 enshrinees.

Here is the complete list of 15 finalists in alphabetical order:

— Jared Allen, Defensive End: 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15, Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers.

Willie Anderson, Offensive Tackle: 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens.

Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety: 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tony Boselli, Offensive Tackle: 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve).

LeRoy Butler, Safety: 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers.

Devin Hester, Punt Returner/Kick Returner/Wide Receiver: 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens.

Torry Holt, Wide Receiver: 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars.

Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver: 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016
Tennessee Titans.

Sam Mills, Linebacker: 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers.

Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle: 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders.

Zach Thomas, Linebacker: 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys.

DeMarcus Ware, Linebacker/Defensive End: 2005-2013 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-16 Denver
Broncos.

Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver: 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts.

Patrick Willis, Linebacker: 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers.

Bryant Young, Defensive Tackle/Defensive End: 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers.

The selection committee may elect up to five modern-era players for the Class of 2022; each must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent for election.

Three others — Dick Vermeil, Art McNally and Cliff Branch, the finalists in the coach, contributor and Senior categories, also are candidates for the Class of 2022.

Voting on each of those three will be held individually, in conjunction with the meeting to decide the Modern-Era Players.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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