Linebackers Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis are among four first-time eligible former players selected among the 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
Urlacher, a Lovington High alum and All-American at the University of New Mexico, played for the Chicago Bears his entire 13-year career (2000-2012).
Receiver Randy Moss and guard Steve Hutchinson also made the cut to the finals as first-year eligibles.
They join center Kevin Mawae, tackles Joe Jacoby and Tony Boselli, receivers Isaac Bruce and Terrell Owens, safeties John Lynch and Brian Dawkins, guard Alan Faneca, running back Edgerrin James, and cornerbacks Ty Law and Everson Walls for consideration.
The seniors committee has nominated guard Jerry Kramer and linebacker Robert Brazile. The contributor’s nominee is Bobby Beathard, a former general manager and administrator for five franchises. The finalists were announced Tuesday.
Voting by the Hall of Fame selectors will be Feb. 3 in Minneapolis. Inductions will be in August at the Canton, Ohio, shrine.
The modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the selection committee from a list of 108 nominees that was earlier reduced to 27 semifinalists.
RAIDERS: Jon Gruden hopes he’s a candidate to return for a second stint as coach of the Oakland Raiders and believes a final decision will be made next week.
Gruden made his most specific comments about the opening in Oakland in an interview Tuesday with the Bay Area News Group . The Raiders fired coach Jack Del Rio on Sunday following a disappointing six-win season
“My understanding is they’re interviewing candidates this week and they’re going to let everybody know sometime early next week or whenever they make their decision,” Gruden told the paper.
When asked specifically if he was a candidate, Gruden replied: “Well, I think I am being considered, yes. I hope I’m a candidate.”
BENGALS: Coach Marvin Lewis got a two-year contract extension Tuesday, providing more chances to try to get Cincinnati that playoff victory that has eluded him for 15 seasons.
The agreement came after a second straight losing season and two days of talks with owner Mike Brown. Lewis has the second-longest active coaching tenure in the NFL, behind Bill Belichick’s 18 seasons with New England.
BILLS: Giddy Buffalo fans are making a surge in donations to Andy Dalton’s foundation, their way of thanking the Bengals quarterback for his role in the Bills’ long-awaited playoff appearance.
Dalton’s foundation reported Tuesday it has received more than $170,000 in donations since the Bengals beat the Ravens 31-27 on Sunday. Dalton threw a 49-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds left to eliminate the Ravens and open a spot for the Bills.
“I think I’m the hottest guy in Buffalo right now,” Dalton said Monday.
CARDINALS: Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, 38, is retiring after 15 NFL seasons.
Palmer made the announcement in an open letter released Tuesday by the Cardinals. Palmer missed the last nine games of 2017 with a broken left arm.
The statement came one day after Cardinals coach Bruce Arians announced his retirement.