Ten former Pittsburgh Steelers players are among the Modern Era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024, the hall announced on Tuesday. Wide receiver Hines Ward, nose tackle Casey Hampton, linebackers Mike Vrabel, Joey Porter Sr., Hardy Nickerson, James Farrior and James Harrison, fullback John Kuhn, defensive back Carnell Lake, and kicker Gary Anderson were all nominated.
The Steelers are among 173 total nominees. 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 members, which will be enshrined at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, next August. Between four and nine members can be selected for the class.
Ward has been a semifinalist for six consecutive years, but has never advanced beyond that stage of the voting process. Many of the players are first-time nominations. Harrison is in his second year of eligibility. Linebacker Chad Brown was nominated last year, but was not this year.
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 Bowler and a three-time All-Pro member of the NFL’s 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams.
Nickerson played for the Steelers for six seasons from 1987 to 1992. While he hit his stride following his career in Pittsburgh, he did start 61 games throughout his career in Pittsburgh, including a 114 tackle in 1992 that saw Nickerson take his game to new heights. The following year, he would make his first All-Pro team with Tampa Bay. Over his career, he made two All-Pros and five-time Pro Bowler. He was named to the Hall of Fame All-1990s team,
Porter Sr. played with the Steelers from 1999 to 2006. The father of Joey Porter Jr., he made three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team with the Steelers. In 2002, he put up nine sacks, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles. Porter ended up with 98 career sacks with 25 forced fumbles throughout his long career.
Vrabel, now the coach of the Tennessee Titans and mostly known for playing on the Super Bowl teams with the Patriots, started his career in Pittsburgh. He played four seasons from 1997 to 2000 with the group but never logged a start. He had three forced fumbles in his tenure.
Kuhn is known most for playing in Green Bay, but before that, he played with the Steelers during his rookie season, where he played nine games with the team. He would stay in the NFL from 2005 to 2017, finishing his career with the New Orleans Saints.
Lake was a coach and player for the Steelers. He coached the Steelers secondary from 2011 to 2017. As a player, he played with the team from 1989 to 1998. Over his career, he scored five defensive touchdowns, nabbed 16 interceptions, forced 15 fumbles, and registered 25 sacks. He finished his career with five Pro Bowls and four All-Pros, with four of those coming as second-team honors.
Farrior was the opposite of Brown. Drafted in the first round by the New York Jets in 1997, he played five seasons in New York before joining the Steelers in 2002, and Farrior has gone down as one of the team’s top free-agent signings ever. He won two Super Bowls as the Steelers’ starting three-down inside linebacker, and was a two-time All-Pro in 2004 and 2008.
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.
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 team in San Antonio, Texas.
The Steelers last had five men enshrined into the Hall of Fame in August of 2021: 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.