Steve Smith, Andre Johnson lead 122 modern-era nominees for Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Of those in their first year of eligibility, there’s a host of all-time great playmakers leading the way for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022 nominees.

Wide receivers Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin, Andre Johnson and kick returner Devin Hester are among those highlighting the first-year hopefuls.

Smith shined for the Panthers and Ravens, Boldin was an instant sensation for the Cardinals, Johnson was a Texans all-time great and Hester is arguably the greatest kick returner in history, having starred for the Bears to begin a memorable career.

Former Cowboys great DeMarcus Ware is another first-year nominee, as is defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who looks to continue building on the number of Patriots synonymous with the New England dynasty.

To be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated individual must not have participated as an active player for five consecutive seasons.

A full list of the nominees is below:

First-Year Eligibles

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin, Devin Hester (also PR/KR), Andre Johnson, Steve Smith

Offensive Linemen: Jake Long (T), Nick Mangold (C)

Defensive Backs: Antonio Cromartie (CB)

Defensive Linemen: Robert Mathis (DE), Vince Wolfork (DT/NT)

Linebacker: DeMarcus Ware

Additional Nominees

Quarterback: Randall Cunningham, Jake Delhomme, Boomer Esiason, Jeff Garcia, Dave Krieg, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander, Mike Alstott (FB), Tiki Barber, Earnest Byner, Larry Centers (FB), Corey Dillon, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Steven Jackson, Jamal Lewis, Eric Metcalf, Lorenzo Neal (FB), Fred Taylor, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Waters, Brian Westbrook

Wide Receivers: Troy Brown, Donald Driver, Henry Ellard (also PR), Torry Holt, Joe Horn, Chad Johnson, Derrick Mason, Muhsin Muhammad, Andre Rison, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Hines Ward, *Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark, Ben Coates, Brent Jones, Heath Miller, Wesley Walls

Offensive Linemen: Willie Anderson (T), Matt Birk (C), *Tony Boselli (T), Lomas Brown (T), Ruben Brown (G), D’Brickashaw Ferguson (T), Kevin Glover (C/G), Jordan Gross (T), Olin Kreutz (C), Logan Mankins (G), Jesse Sapolu (C/G), Jeff Saturday (C), Chris Snee (G), Brian Waters (G), Richmond Webb (T), Erik Williams (T), Steve Wisniewski (G)

Defensive Linemen: John Abraham (DE also LB), *Jared Allen (DE), La’Roi Glover (DT/NT), Casey Hampton (DT/NT), Leslie O’Neal (DE), Michael Dean Perry (DT/DE), Simeon Rice (DE), *Richard Seymour (DT), Justin Smith (DE), Neil Smith (DE), Greg Townsend (DE/LB/DT/NT), Justin Tuck (DE), Kevin Williams (DT), Bryant Young (DT)

Linebackers: Cornelius Bennett, Lance Briggs, Tedy Bruschi, London Fletcher, Seth Joyner, Willie McGinest (also DE), *Sam Mills, Hardy Nickerson Sr., Takeo Spikes, Pat Swilling (also DE), *Zach Thomas, Patrick Willis

Defensive Backs: Eric Allen (CB), *Ronde Barber (CB/S), Dre Bly (DB), *LeRoy Butler (S), Nick Collins (S), Merton Hanks (S), Rodney Harrison (S), Albert Lewis (CB), Tim McDonald (S), Allen Rossum (DB), Asante Samuel (CB), Bob Sanders (S), Charles Tillman (CB), Troy Vincent (CB), Adrian Wilson (S), Darren Woodson (S)

Punters/Kickers: Gary Anderson (K), Jeff Feagles (P), John Kasay (K), Sean Landeta (P), Ryan Longwell (K), Reggie Roby (P), Matt Turk (P)

Special Teams: Josh Cribbs (KR/PR also WR), Mel Gray (PR/KR also WR), Brian Mitchell (KR/PR also RB), Steve Tasker (ST also WR)

The 122 modern-era nominees include 65 offensive players, 46 defensive players and 11 special teams players. The list of modern-era nominees will be cut to 25 semifinalists in November and 15 finalists in January. In addition to the 15 modern-era finalists will be senior finalist Cliff Branch, contributor finalist Art McNally and coach finalist Dick Vermeil.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020 is set for enshrinement in August of 2022.

*Denotes 2021 finalist

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