Six-time All-Pro offensive linebacker Joe Thomas, closed cornerback Darrelle Revis and fast paced player Dwight Freeney top the list of nine first-year qualifying players selected from among 129 nominees for the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
The other first-year qualifiers fall behind Chris Johnson, offensive lineman Jahri Evans, linebackers Navuro Bowman, James Harrison, defensive linebacker Cam Chancellor, and resistance linebacker Shane Leitchler.
The nine new nominees were combined for 52 Pro Bowl berths and 30 first-team All-Pro picks, with five of the nine winning Super Bowls and five making up a team throughout the decade. Johnson also won Offensive Player of the Year in 2009, and Harrison was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.
Thomas was one of the best tackles in the league over the course of an 11-year career that saw him selected for the All-Pro first team six times and the second team two more times. He had a streak of 10,363 consecutive plays while playing for Brown throughout his career.
Revis, who was also selected in the 2007 draft, moved on much more, spending time with the Jets, Tampa Bay, New England and Kansas City.
His best plays came in New York, where he was the first All-Pro team from 2009-11 and finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year vote in 2009, when he repeatedly shut out the top receivers by sending them to “Revis Island.”
Revis spent one year in New England, helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl title in the 2014 season.
Freeney spent most of his 16-year career in Indianapolis, where his off-the-edge speed and dominant spinning action led to 125.5 sacks in his career. He solidified a defense that complemented a solid attack led by Peyton Manning and helped the Colts win the Super Bowl in 2006.
The list will be narrowed down to 25 semi-finalists in November and to 15 finalists in January before the selection committee discusses and selects the 2023 class to be dedicated in August.
The fifteen finalists will be reduced to 10 and then five during the selection meeting early next year. The final five candidates will need to obtain 80% of the votes of the committee members to enter the hall.
The shortlist consists of 67 offensive players, 50 defensive players and 12 special players.
Re-nominated 2022 finalists for next year defensively Jared Allen; Treating Willie Anderson. defensive back Ronde Barber; return Devin Hester; hosts Tori Holt, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne; linebackers Zach Thomas and Patrick Willis; and edge rusher DeMarcus Ware.
The committee will also consider former Chargers and Cardinals coach Don Curiel in the coaching class and three top nominees: Super Bowl V MVP Chuck Howley and All-Pro defenders Joe Klecko and Ken Riley. They will also enter if they gain the support of at least 80% of voters in January.