NFL Nation: Karl Mecklenburg

Five of 15 modern-era finalists for 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement have ties to teams currently in the NFC West.

Their names are shaded in the chart below: Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Aeneas Williams, Jerome Bettis and Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

The first two men listed qualify as seniors candidates. Their enshrinement does not affect the maximum five slots available to modern-era candidates.

San Francisco 49ers great Roger Craig was among the 12 semifinalists not making the reduction to 15 this year. The others were: Morten Andersen, Steve Atwater, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, John Lynch, Karl Mecklenburg, Paul Tagliabue, Steve Tasker and George Young.

The next round of voting begins and ends one day before the Super Bowl. I'm one of the voters and will have a tough time reducing to five on the final ballot, as usual. It's a select group that makes it in the end. Strong cases can be made for each of the four players eligible for the first time. Adding them to the list makes it tougher for some of the holdovers.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 17 finalists for enshrinement in 2012. The vote will be held February 4.

Three of the finalists have AFC West ties. Five others were part of the nine semifinalists to get knocked out of contention Saturday: Denver’s Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis and Karl Mecklenburg, former San Diego coach Don Coryell and former Oakland executive Ron Wolf.

Let’s take a look at the three finalists among the 17 who spent significant portions of their careers in the AFC West. Here they are:

Tim Brown, WR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? Brown will get in, but it may take some more time because of the logjam at receiver, whether it’s right or not. Cris Carter could block him this year.

Willie Roaf, T -- 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? I would not be shocked if Roaf gets in within the next couple of years.

Will Shields, G -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? I think Shields goes to Canton in his first time on the ballot.

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