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Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Junior Seau among HOF finalists

By David Ching
ESPN.com

Among the 25 finalists for the inaugural induction class into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame are former All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau, longtime NFL veterans Kevin Mawae, Mark Tuinei, Mosi Tatupu and Kurt Gouveia, and Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo.

The Hall of Fame will announce its first seven inductees on Oct. 9, with the enshrinement ceremony set for Jan. 23 in Honolulu prior to the NFL Pro Bowl.

A selection committee consisting of former college coaches Dick Tomey, LaVell Edwards and Ron McBride, former NFL player personnel executive Gil Brandt and broadcasters Neil Everett and Robert Kekaula picked the 25 finalists from a field of more than 100 initial nominees.

"The selection committee is as notable and recognizable in coaching, media and player personnel as you can get. They have a unique perspective, appreciation and understanding of Polynesia's contribution to the game," said Vai Sikahema, a member of the Hall of Fame's board of directors along with Troy Polamalu, June Jones, Reno Mahe, Jesse Sapolu and Ma'a Tanuvasa.

The committee will reconvene again in the next few weeks to select the seven new Hall of Famers -- six players and one coach.

Here is the complete list of candidates:

Player finalists

George Achica, DT (USC, Indianapolis Colts, USFL; Samoan ancestry)

Junior Ah You, DE (Arizona State, CFL and USFL; Samoan ancestry)

Bob Apisa, FB/HB (Michigan State, Green Bay Packers; Samoan ancestry)

Charlie Ane, Jr., OL (USC, Detroit Lions; Samoan ancestry)

Buddy Clark, RB (Oregon State, Chicago Bears; Hawaiian ancestry)

Riki Ellison, LB (USC, San Francisco 49ers, Oakand Raiders; Maori ancestry)

Luther Elliss, DT (Utah, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos; Samoan ancestry)

Rocky Freitas, OL (Oregon State, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Hawaiian ancestry)

Kurt Gouveia, LB (BYU, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers; Hawaiian ancestry)

Ma'ake Kemoeatu, DT (Utah, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins; Tongan ancestry)

Olin Kreutz, C (Washington, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints; Hawaiian ancestry)

Kevin Mawae, C (LSU, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans; Hawaiian ancestry)

Al Noga, DL (Hawaii, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Indianapolis Colts; Samoan ancestry)

Junior Seau, LB (USC, San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins; Samoan ancestry)

Ray Schoenke, OL (SMU, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins; Hawaiian ancestry)

Mosi Tatupu, RB/KR (USC, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams; Samoan ancestry)

Jack Thompson, QB (Washington State, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Samoan ancestry)

Manu Tuiasosopo, DL (UCLA, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers; Samoan ancestry)

Mark Tuinei, OT (Hawaii, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins; Samoan ancestry)

Herman Wedemeyer, HB (St. Mary's College, AAFL; Hawaiian ancestry)

Coach and contributor finalists

Tom Kaulukukui, Former head coach at Hawaii (Hawaiian ancestry)

Al Lolotai, Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Dons, professional wrestler (Samoan ancestry)

John Manumaleuna, Contributor, Southern California advocate for Polynesian youth (Samoan ancestry)

Ken Niumatalolo, Head coach at Navy (Samoan ancestry)

Charlie Wedemeyer, Former coach at Los Gatos (Calif.) High School (Hawaiian ancestry)