Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 17 finalists for enshrinement in 2009. The vote will be Jan. 31. Two players who spent a significant part of their careers in the AFC West are among the finalists while four players from the division didn't make the final cut.
Here are the finalists:
Shannon Sharpe, tight end: 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos; 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
Will he get in? He is considered one of the best players ever to play his position but because there is a logjam at other positions and tight end is not considered a glamor position by many voters, Sharpe may have to wait a year or two.
Derrick Thomas, linebacker: 1989-99 Kansas City Chiefs
Will he get in? It says here he gets in either in 2009 or 2010.
Here is a list of semifinalists who spent most of their careers in the AFC West but did not make the cut to the finalists list:
- Terrell Davis, running back: 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
- Ray Guy, punter: 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
- Lester Hayes, cornerback: 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
- Ken Stabler, quarterback: 1970-79 Oakland Raiders; 1980-1981 Houston Oilers; 1982-1984 New Orleans Saints