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James Harrison, Hines Ward Miss Finalists List for 2023 Hall of Fame



Hines Ward James Harrison 2023 Hall of Fame

Former Steelers players James Harrison and Hines Ward were not named as finalists for the 2023 Hall of Fame during the reveal of the 15 modern-era finalists on Wednesday.

Both of the players were among the 28 modern-era semifinalists for the class of 2023 when it came out in November. Ward has been named a semifinalist for seven consecutive seasons but has not been named a finalist. Andre Johnson, Torry Holt, Devin Hester, and Reggie Wayne were named finalists over Ward.

In his first year of eligibility, Harrison failed to reach the finalist podium. Dwight Freeney, Jared Allen, and DaMarcus Ware got nods over Harrison. However, with this being his first year of eligibility, Harrison should see himself into this crop the more time bleeds on, but it won’t be in the 2023 Hall of Fame class.

Harrison is one of the team’s most legendary outside linebackers. Originally joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2002, it took him years to catch on with the squad full time and Harrison considered giving up football. But starting in 2004, he was a long-term fixture of the Pittsburgh defense that won Super Bowls XL and XLIII. Harrison had the most memorable play of the latter game, with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown just before the half serving as one of the top plays in NFL history. Harrison was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, he was a four-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler.

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. He is currently serving as the head coach of the XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas.

The full list for the 15 finalists is Zach Thomas, Joe Thomas, Willie Anderson, Ronde Barber, Darren Woodson, Patrick Willis, Darrelle Revis, DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, Andre Johnson, Torry Holt, Reggie Wayne, Devin Hester, and Albert Lewis.

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