Pro Football HOF announces semifinalists

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Faneca, Ward take next step to HOF

The final 25 includes three first-year eligible players: Cornerback Champ Bailey, tight end Tony Gonzalez and safety Ed Reed. Atwater is a semifinalist for the eighth consecutive year and Johnson is a semifinalist the third year in a row.

The 25 National Football League legends in the running will be pared down to 15 in early January before the Class of 2019 is decided the night before Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

Tony Gonzalez will have a shot at making the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They are joined by Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas and Oakland Raiders coach Tom Flores.

Atwater and Mecklenburg have now been named semifinalists on eight occasions, Lynch (7) and Law (5) have also represented the Broncos at the semifinalist stage on several occasions.

Former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen previously were chosen as finalists as contributors, and former Kansas City Chiefs player Johnny Robinson is a finalist as a senior candidate.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame bylaws stipulate that from four to eight new members will be selected each year.

The next step in the selection process comes in January when Butler will look to make the cut to 15 finalists for the first time. The Class of 2019 will be announced during the "NFL Honors" show that evening. He is one of only two people to win the Super Bowl as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach, with the other being Mike Ditka.

The 2019 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will be held next August 3 in Canton, Ohio.

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