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Harrison, Wilfork among 25 Pro Football Hall of Fame Semifinalists

Two Patriots greats are among the 25 semifinalists for the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

Pictured are defensive lineman Vince Wilfork (75) and safety Rodney Harrison (37).
Pictured are defensive lineman Vince Wilfork (75) and safety Rodney Harrison (37).

The Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed 25 semifinalists for the 2024 class and two Patriots greats, Rodney Harrison and Vince Wilfork, are among them, marking a third time as a semifinalist for each. Other semifinalists who spent time with the Patriots include James Harrison, who spent part of 2017 with the team, and running back Fred Taylor, who was a Patriot in 2009 and 2010.

Wilfork, a 2022 inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame, has earned consistent praise for his career that included two Super Bowl wins. A big interior defensive lineman, Wilfork had surprising versatility and eventually became a moveable chess piece along the defensive line, far more than just a nose tackle as some might've considered him early in his career.

"Vince is a really, very athletic guy," said Bill Belichick last year. "He can run, very light on his feet. I mean for such a big guy, I think good balance, tremendous playing strength. Great competitor, very smart, good communicator. Was a good team leader. Great team captain. So he brought a lot to this organization on and off the field for a long period of time."

Meanwhile, Harrison's resume needs little introduction as Bill Belichick has consistently stumped for the all-time safety to be inducted into the game's most hallowed shrine. "I think that Rodney Harrison one hundred percent belongs in the conversation," said Belichick in 2022. "I've coached safeties that have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame, not taking anything away from them, but certainly Rodney Harrison belongs in that conversation, and he certainly belongs in the conversation with other players that are already there."

Harrison helped New England to back-to-back titles after his arrival in 2003, instantly emerging as a playmaker and hard hitter who set the tone for an already ferocious defense. Harrison remains one of only two players with over 30 sacks and 30 interceptions, with Hall of Famer Ray Lewis being the other.

Wilfork and Harrison represent key defensive contributors that helped produce three different championships spanning over a decade in New England and would make suitable representatives in Canton from the team's dynasty.

Last year, Richard Seymour was the latest Patriot enshrined in Canton, joining five other long-time Patriots: Andre Tippett, Nic Buoniconti, John Hannah, Mike Haynes and Ty Law. Seymour and Law were the first two members voted in of the first three Super Bowl-winning squads.

The list of 25 semifinalists will be further trimmed to 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists. That list increases to 19 Finalists overall with the inclusion of the recommended Nominees of the Hall of Fame's Coach/Contributor Committee, Buddy Parker; and its Seniors Committee, Randy Gradishar, Steve McMichael and Art Powell.

The Hall of Fame's 50-person Selection Committee will select the Class of 2024 in advance of Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The class will be announced live on the "NFL Honors" telecast scheduled to air Feb. 8.

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