The Pro Football Hall of Fame has continued the process of finding its 2021 class: after first announcing 130 modern-era nominees in September, the list has now been reduced to 25 semifinalists. In January, it will be cut further down to 15 finalists before a group of four to eight enshrinees — the number is not set — will be voted on ahead of Super Bowl 55 in February.
Among those who cleared the second hurdle of reaching the semifinals are six men who at one point signed a deal with the New England Patriots. That’s 24 percent of finalists, up from 17.7 percent during the initial round. While “only” three of them actually appeared in at least one game for the club, the number is still impressive and a nice stroll down memory lane.
With that said, let’s meet the former Patriots who have made the list of Hall of Fame semifinalists:
S Rodney Harrison, S John Lynch*, DT Richard Seymour, RB Fred Taylor, WR Torry Holt*, WR Reggie Wayne*
*offseason member only
While Torry Holt, Reggie Wayne and John Lynch all signed deals with the Patriots at one point to participate in training camp in hopes of making the roster, they would not enter the Hall of Fame as members of the team: neither of them has played even a single down of non-preseason football for the organization. The same thing cannot be said about the other three semifinalists with ties to New England, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour and Fred Taylor.
Rodney Harrison was originally acquired by the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent in 2003. The former San Diego Chargers fifth-round draft choice would go on to spend the final six seasons of his fifteen-year career in New England, where he was a cornerstone of a team that won the Super Bowl in 2003 and 2004. A member of the Patriots’ 50th anniversary squad and Team of the 2000s, Harrison appeared in a combined 72 regular season and playoff games for the club.
Richard Seymour spent the first eight seasons of his 12-year career in New England and appeared in 126 games for the franchise before getting traded to the then-Oakland Raiders in 2009. He played a key role in the New England’s first three Super Bowl-winning runs, was voted to seven Pro Bowls and named to the NFL’s team of the 2000s. He also is a member of both the Patriots’ Team of the 2000s and the franchise’s 50th anniversary team. Seymour has been a Hall of Fame finalists the previous two years.
Fred Taylor originally joined the Patriots in 2009 after having spent the first 11 seasons of his career in Jacksonville. He appeared in 14 combined games for the club, carrying the football 108 times for 425 yards and four touchdowns. That production, of course, is not the reason why he is a Hall of Fame semifinalist in his second year of eligibility: even before arriving in New England, he had already joined the NFL’s 10,000-yard rushing club.
CB Eric Allen, DE Jared Allen, OT Willie Anderson, CB/S Ronde Barber, LB Cornelius Bennett, OT Tony Boselli, S LeRoy Butler, G Alan Faneca, WR Calvin Johnson, QB Peyton Manning, LB Clay Matthews, LB Sam Mills, WR Steve Tasker, LB Zach Thomas, WR Hines Ward, LB Patrick Willis, CB/S Charles Woodson, S Darren Woodson, DT Bryant Young
The former Patriots to make this next jump will face some tremendous competition on the road to the Hall of Fame: players such as Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson and Charles Woodson appear to be safe bets to make the cut as first-year nominees. The rest, meanwhile, also has impressive careers to look back on — certainly worth of Hall of Fame recognition as well.
Patriots who failed to make the cut
QB Drew Bledsoe, LB Tedy Bruschi, FB Larry Centers, TE Ben Coates, RB Corey Dillon, WR Henry Ellard, P Jeff Feagles, RB Steven Jackson, WR Chad Johnson, K Nick Lowery, G Logan Mankins, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Willie McGinest, CB Asante Samuel, G Brian Waters, WR Wes Welker, S Adrian Wilson*
*offseason member only
With only six former Patriots left standing, 17 of the 23 initial nominees have now been eliminated — a group that includes numerous franchise legends as well as players who should get serious Hall of Fame consideration in future years as well. While players such as Drew Bledsoe, Tedy Bruschi and Jerod Mayo might ultimately be long-shots, Logan Mankins and Wes Welker, for example, should remain on the nominees list for years to come.
Will a former Patriot make the Hall of Fame in 2021?
This poll is closed