The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced they’ve delayed revealing the15 Modern Era Finalists for the 2023 Hall of Fame. The announcement comes on the heels of Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin’s serious injury in Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, collapsing after making a tackle and rushed to the hospital where he’s currently in critical condition.
Here’s the announcement from the Hall of Fame.
“The announcement had been scheduled for 8 p.m. ET Tuesday night on the network. The decision to postpone the program for at least 24 hours was made after discussions involving officials with the Hall of Fame, the NFL and the NFL Network.
The program tentatively has been rescheduled for 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on the network. The organizations will re-evaluate the situation Wednesday and determine if the timing is appropriate to proceed with the announcement.”
As the Hall announced, the tentative plan is to make the announcement Wednesday night on NFL Network. But that date and time is subject to change based on updates to Hamlin’s condition.
Wide receiver Hines Ward and outside linebacker James Harrison were the two Steelers named semifinalists for this year’s class. Ward has been a semifinalist for seven straight years and is trying to crack the finalists list. Ward, Super Bowl XL MVP, caught 1000 career passes, all with Pittsburgh, and was lauded for his physicality and blocking ability. But there are several other receivers on the list who will provide strong competition. Six other wideouts are on the ballot including Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith, and Torry Holt. There’s also Devin Hester, a receiver/cornerback/returner.
This is Harrison’s first time on the ballot. He seems to have stronger odds of making the finalists list but also faces competition from Demarcus Ware, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, and Jared Allen. The 2008 Defensive Player of the Year, Harrison is currently the Steelers’ all-time sack leader, he made five Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams while making the iconic play of Super Bowl XLIII, his 100-yard pick-six against Arizona Cardinals’ QB Kurt Warner.
Other notable semifinalists include CB Ronde Barber, S Rodney Harrison, OT Joe Thomas, and LB Patrick Willis.
The list will narrow down the 28 semifinalists to 15 finalists. From there, the 2023 inductees will be announced during the league’s “NFL Honors” presentation on February 9th, days before the Super Bowl.