Troy Polamalu, a graduate of Douglas High School in Winston, on Thursday night joined Reggie Wayne as a first-time eligible player also among the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s modern-day 2020 class.
The former Steelers safety and Colts receiver are joined by five others who have never been finalists: Packers safety LeRoy Butler; Rams receiver Torry Holt; Panthers linebacker Sam Mills; Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas; and 49ers defensive tackle Bryant Young.
They are joined by past finalists Broncos/Jets safety Steve Atwater; Jaguars tackle Tony Boselli; Rams/49ers receiver Isaac Bruce; Steelers/Jets/Cardinals guard Alan Faneca; Seahawks/Vikings/Titans guard Steve Hutchinson; Colts/Cardinals/Seahawks running back Edgerrin James; Buccaneers/Broncos safety John Lynch; and Patriots/Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
These 15 will be considered for selection on Feb. 1 in Miami, the day before the Super Bowl. A player must receiver 80% of votes from the selection committee. A maximum of five modern-day players can be chosen.
Polamalu was an all-state running back and safety at Douglas High School prior to graduating in 1999. He was also an All-American under then-USC coach Pete Carroll, and he was taken by the Steelers as the 16th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.
For the first time this year, the Hall of Fame also is adding 10 senior candidates, three contributors and two coaches to be inducted in the Canton, Ohio, shrine in August. That is a special selection in celebration of the NFL’s 100th season.
Lynch, now the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, is a finalist for the seventh time. Faneca is a fifth-time finalist, while Boselli, Bruce and James are in their fourth year making the finals. Atwater and Hutchinson have done so three times, Seymour twice.
The class of 2020 will be introduced during NFL Honors, when The Associated Press announces its NFL individual awards winners, on the evening of Feb. 1 on Fox.
The entire 20-person class of 2020 will be on hand for the enshrinement week in Canton. Modern-era players along with contributors and coaches will be formally enshrined on Saturday, Aug. 8. The 10 seniors will have their own inductions the week of Sept. 16-19.