Former Seahawks offensive tackle Walter Jones inched one step closer to sports immortality Wednesday night when he was named a semifinalist for the 2014 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The announcement was made on NFL Network, where the league whittled an initial list of 126 nominees down to 25 semifinalists.
Jones is one of four to make the cut in the first year of eligibility. The others are former Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison, coach Tony Dungy and longtime Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks.
Jones played his entire professional career (1997-2008) for the Seahawks. He was a nine-time Pro-Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro. He was also named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000s. His number (71) was retired by the team in 2010.
Other notable semifinalists include: defensive ends Michael Strahan and Charles Haley; running backs Jerome Bettis, Terrell Davis and Roger Craig; wide receivers Tim Brown and Andre Reed; offensive lineman Will Shields; defensive backs Aeneas Williams, Steve Atwater and John Lynch; and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists. Those 15 will be joined by two recommended candidates from the hall’s seniors committee: punter Ray Guy and defensive end Claude Humphrey.
No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year.
The Hall of Fame election is Feb. 1, the night before the Super Bowl, in New York.