February 23, 2024

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49ers great Patrick Willis, 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

49ers great Patrick Willis, 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

Former 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis has advanced to the semifinals for the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, it was announced Tuesday morning.

Willis was selected as one of the top 25 modern-day nominees from the original list of 173 nominees. He has advanced to the last 15 in the past two years.

Running back Ricky Watters, who played for the 49ers from 1992 to 1994, and wide receiver Anquan Boldin, a member of the 49ers from 2013 to 2015, are also among those advancing to the semifinals.

Two first-time qualifiers made it to the semifinals: tight end Antonio Gates and defensive end Julius Peppers. Both last played in the 2018 season. For an individual to be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, they must not have competed as an active player for five consecutive seasons.

Running back Tiki Barber, in his 12th year of eligibility, was the only other player to reach the semifinals for the first time.

Willis was a seven-time Pro Bowl player in his eight NFL seasons. He was named first-team All-Pro five times, and was selected to the NFL All-Decade team in the 2000s.

The current list of 25 people will be whittled down to 15 finalists in a vote among the 50-member selection committee at a later date.

A maximum of five modern-era nominees may be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The committee will select the Class of 2024 before Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas. The class will be announced live on “NFL Honors” scheduled to air on February 8.

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In addition to modern-day candidates, the committee will also consider coach/contributor Buddy Parker and senior finalists Randy Gradishar, Steve McMichael and Art Powell.

There is no set number for any category of honorees, but the selection committee bylaws state that between four and nine new members will be selected.

Here is a list of the 2024 Modern Era semifinalists:

Eric Allen, CB – 1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-1997 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders | (Semi-final times: 4 – 2021-24)
Jared Allen, DE – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-13 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers | (Semi-final times: 4 – 2021-24)
Willie Anderson, T – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens | (Semi-final times: 4 – 2021-24)
Tiki Barber, RB – 1997-2006 New York Giants | (Times to reach the semi-finals: 1 – 2024)
Anquan Bouldin, WR – 2003-09 Arizona Cardinals, 2010-12 Baltimore Ravens, 2013-15 San Francisco 49ers, 2016 Detroit Lions | (Semi-final times: 3 – 2022-24)
Gary Evans, J – 2006-2016 New Orleans Saints, 2017 Green Bay Packers | (Semi-final times: 2 – 2023-24)
London Fletcher, LP – 1998-2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002-06 Buffalo Bills, 2007-2013 Washington Redskins | (Semi-final times: 2 – 2023-24)
Dwight Freeney, DE – 2002-2012 Indianapolis Colts, 2013-14 San Diego Chargers, 2015 Arizona Cardinals, 2016 Atlanta Falcons, 2017 Seattle Seahawks, 2017 Detroit Lions | (Semi-final times: 2 – 2023-24)
Antonio Gates, TE – 2003-2018 San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (Number of semifinalists reached: 1 – 2024)
Eddie George, R.B – 1996-2003 Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans, 2004 Dallas Cowboys (semifinals: 2 – 2022, 2024)
James Harrison, LP – 2002-2012, 2014-17 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2013 Cincinnati Bengals, 2017 New England Patriots | (Semi-final times: 2 – 2023-24)
Rodney Harrison, S – 1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-2008 New England Patriots | (Qualifying times for the semi-finals: 2021-3, 2023-24)
Devin Hester, PR/KR/WR – 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens | (Semi-final times: 3 – 2022-24)
Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times to reach the semi-finals: 10 – 2015-2024)
Andre Johnson, WR – 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans | (Semi-final times: 3 – 2022-24)
Robert Mathis, DE/LB – 2003-2016 Indianapolis Colts | (Semi-final times: 3 – 2022-24)
Julius Peppers, DE – 2002-09, 2017-18 Carolina Panthers, 2010-13 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Green Bay Packers (Semifinal appearances: 1 – 2024)
Steve Smith Sr., WR – 2001-2013 Carolina Panthers, 2014-16 Baltimore Ravens | (Semi-final times: 3 – 2022-24)
Fred Taylor, R.B – 1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots | (Semi-final times: 5 – 2020-24)
Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Qualifying times for the semi-finals: 8 – 2017-2024)
Ricky Watters, RB – 1992-94 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-97 Philadelphia Eagles, 1998-2001 Seattle Seahawks | (Times reached semi-finals: 2020-4, 2022-24)
Reggie Wayne, WR – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts | (Semi-final times: 5 – 2020-24)
Vince Wilfork, D.T – 2004-2014 New England Patriots, 2015-16 Houston Texans | (Semi-final times: 3 – 2022-24)
Patrick Willis, LP – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers | (Semi-final times: 5 – 2020-24)
Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times he reached the semi-finals: 8 – 2015, 2017, 2019-2024)

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