Five former Steelers players are among the Modern Era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
Wide receiver Hines Ward, tight end Heath Miller, nose tackle Casey Hampton, linebacker Hardy Nickerson Sr. and kicker Gary Anderson were all nominated.
The five Steelers are among 122 total nominations. The list will be cut to 25 semifinalists in November and 15 finalists in January. The Hall of Fame selection committee will meet before the Super Bowl to determine the class, which will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio in August. Between four and players can be selected per class.
Ward has been a semifinalist for five consecutive years, but has never advanced beyond that stage of the voting process. Anderson, Hampton and Miller were all nominees for the Class of 2021 that did not advance to the semifinalist phase. Nickerson is a new nominee. Linebacker Joey Porter, who was nominated in 2021, was not nominated in this class.
Anderson spent 13 seasons kicking with the Steelers from 1982-94 and is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 1,343 points. He’s the only Pittsburgh player to score more than 1,000 career points and is also the team’s leader in career field goals made (309) and points after touchdown (416). He was a four-time Pro Bowlers, a three-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL’s 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams.
Hampton came to Pittsburgh in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of Texas. The big nose tackle spent 12 seasons in Black and Gold, winning Super Bowls XL and XLIII. Hampton was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and is a member of the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
Miller retired in 2015 after a 13-year run as the Steelers’ starting tight end after being the team’s 2005 first-round pick out of Virginia. Miller is eligible to be elected for the first time. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Nickerson was the Steelers’ fifth-round pick in the 1987 NFL Draft and played six seasons in Pittsburgh before joining Tampa Bay in free agency and played seven seasons with the Buccaneers. He finished his career with stops in Jacksonville and Green Bay. Nickerson was a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro, all while playing with the Buccaneers.
Ward’s 14-year NFL career was spent carving out a role as one of the most physical players on the Steelers, even as a wide receiver. The Korean-born Ward won two Super Bowls with Pittsburgh and was the MVP of Super Bowl XL after his game-sealing touchdown reception. His impact as a blocker was so well-known that the NFL changed its rules to prevent blindside blocks downfield, which has come to be known as the Hines Ward Rule. Ward was named to four Pro Bowls, was a three-time All-Pro and is on the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
Cornerback and kick returner Allen Rossum, who spent one season with the Steelers, was also nominated. Senior nominee Cliff Branch, official Art McNally and coach Dick Vermeil are also finalists, nominated by their specific committees.
The Steelers had five men enshrined into the Hall of Fame this August: safeties Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell and head coach Bill Cowher from the Class of 2020 and guard Alan Faneca and scout Bill Nunn as part of the Class of 2021.
Before that, the most recent Steelers honorees were linebacker Kevin Greene and defensive back and assistant coach Tony Dungy in 2016.