The semifinalists were announced Tuesday.
Those three players, with a combined 29 Pro Bowl appearances in their careers, join cornerback Eric Allen, defensive end Jared Allen, tackle Willie Anderson, cornerback Ronde Barber, linebacker Cornelius Bennett, tackle Tony Boselli, safety LeRoy Butler, guard Alan Faneca, safety Rodney Harrison, wide receiver Torry Holt, safety John Lynch, linebacker Clay Matthews Jr., linebacker Sam Mills, defensive lineman Richard Seymour, wide receiver/special-teamer Steve Tasker, running back Fred Taylor, linebacker Zach Thomas, wide receiver Hines Ward, wide receiver Reggie Wayne, linebacker Patrick Willis, safety Darren Woodson and defensive tackle Bryant Young.
BREAKING: 4 first-year eligible players are among the list of 25 Modern-Era Player Semifinalists for the Class of 2021.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) November 24, 2020
It is the ninth time as a semifinalist for Lynch, the current general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. Tasker has been this far in the process eight times, and Holt (seven), Boselli (six) and Faneca (six) also are familiar with the semifinal stage.
The list of 25 will now be trimmed to 15 finalists in the coming weeks by the Hall of Fame’s board of selectors. The Hall’s Class of 2021 is scheduled to be chosen in the days leading up to Super Bowl LV.
As many as five of the finalists will be chosen for the Class of 2021.
Tom Flores is already a finalist from the Hall coach’s committee, Bill Nunn is a finalist as a contributor, and Drew Pearson is a finalist from the seniors committee. If all three are chosen for enshrinement, the Hall’s Class of 2021 would have eight new Hall of Famers.
Manning — with five league MVP awards, 14 Pro Bowl selections, seven first-team All Pro selections, a Comeback Player of the Year award and a Walter Payton Man of the Year award — is one of the most decorated players in league history. He was behind center for the Denver Broncos when they won Super Bowl 50 to finish his final season (2015) in the league.
After 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Manning signed with the Broncos in 2012 — making him one of the most accomplished players to change teams in the free-agency era. The Colts had 11 10-win seasons with Manning at quarterback and won Super Bowl XLI, with Manning chosen as the game’s MVP.
He retired with numerous single-season and career records, including his 5,477 yards passing and 55 touchdowns in 2013.
Woodson was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and finished his 18-year career tied for fifth in interceptions — with Ken Riley — with 65. He led the league in interceptions with nine for the Green Bay Packers in 2009, and he earned a Super Bowl ring with the Packers the following season.
The cornerback-turned-safety also forced 33 fumbles in his career, had 20 sacks and three 90-tackle seasons, including 113 tackles with the Oakland Raiders at age 38.
Johnson played nine seasons for the Detroit Lions before abruptly retiring after the 2015 season, when he had 88 catches for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns. He had five 1,200-yard receiving seasons and stands 31st in career receiving yards.
Because of the Lions’ struggles, something he later said contributed to his retirement, he played in just two postseasons, finishing with 211 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his first postseason appearance, a 45-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC wild-card round that followed the 2011 season.