Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Sport | By Matt Richards

Champ Bailey among 1st-time eligible finalists for Hall of Fame

Champ Bailey among 1st-time eligible finalists for Hall of Fame

The inventor of the Lambeau Leap, LeRoy Butler, will have to wait for another chance at being named into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as he was not one of the fifteen finalists.

Results will be announced on the eve of Super Bowl LIII, with the Hall of Fame class first introduced during the NFL Honors awards ceremony. This makes it increasingly unlikely that the former Miami Dolphins' great will ever earn a place in Canton despite one of the greatest statistical careers of any linebacker in history.

Law will forever be remembered not only for his regular season prowess with the team, but also for his knack at making big plays on some of the biggest stages.

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The last Georgia player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was running back Terrell Davis, who went in after a stellar career with the Denver Broncos.

The list of finalists includes contributor finalists Pat Bowlen, owner of the Denver Broncos, and Gil Brandt, a longtime executive for the Dallas Cowboys. That ranks him seventh all-time in interceptions and first in interception return yards in National Football League history. He started from the first game of his rookie season through his departure following the 2005 season and Super Bowl 40 that ended it with Seattle's loss to Pittsburgh in Detroit. Butler was also a four-time Pro-Bowler and a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team.

Former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson, another former Arkansas player, has been one of 25 semifinalists for the past three years, but was not one of the 15 finalists named Thursday.

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Gonzalez was selected to 14 Pro Bowls and is the NFL's all-time leader in receiving yards for tight ends with 15,127. Those two years closed out a marvelous career in which Bruce reeled in 1,024 catches for 15,208 yards and 91 touchdowns.

Don Coryell, the former San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Cardinals coach from 1973-86 known for his high-flying passing offenses, also was a finalist.

Gonzalez, who spent five seasons in Atlanta from 2009-13, would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer if he is voted in this year.

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