Manning among Hall semifinalists
Faneca, Ward make the cut, too
Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Jared Allen and Calvin Johnson are first-year eligible players to make the list of 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021.
Joining them are four players who previously have been eligible, but never made the semifinals: Eric Allen, Willie Anderson, Cornelius Bennett and Rodney Harrison.
A player must be retired for five seasons before being considered for entry to the Canton, Ohio, shrine.
The group of 25 announced Tuesday also includes Ronde Barber, Tony Boselli, LeRoy Butler, Alan Faneca, Torry Holt, John Lynch, Clay Matthews, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour, Steve Tasker, Fred Taylor, Zach Thomas, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, Patrick Willis, Darren Woodson and Bryant Young.
Candidates will be trimmed to 15 modern-day finalists who will be considered for entry by the selection committee during Super Bowl week in February. Inductions are scheduled for next August, when the 2020 class and a special centennial class also will be enshrined after the COVID-19 pandemic forced postponement of those ceremonies last summer.
Also on the voting ballot in the coaching category is Tom Flores; in the contributors category is Bill Nunn; and in the seniors category is Drew Pearson.
Between four and eight new members will be selected.
Of the 25 semifinalists, several have been finalists in the past, including Boselli, Faneca, Holt, Lynch, Mills, Seymour, Thomas, Wayne and Young in 2019.
Manning, of course, is a record five-time league MVP and held several career passing records when he retired after 17 seasons; he missed 2011 with a severe neck problem. He played in three Super Bowls, winning two — one with the Colts and the other with Denver. He was a quarterback on the All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
Steelers atop poll
NEW YORK — The Pittsburgh Steelers are a perfect 10.
And they’re also once again No. 1 in the latest AP Pro32 poll.
The Steelers improved to 10-0 for the first time in franchise history with a 27-3 rout of the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars.
Pittsburgh received 10 of the 12 first-place votes for 382 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
And the Steelers have a quick turnaround as they’re scheduled to host the rival Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night.
“After a layup win over the Jaguars, the Steelers can take another decisive step forward with a win over the Ravens and keep an eye on winning the all-important No. 1 seed in the AFC,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.
The Kansas City Chiefs, who are coming off a 35-31 win over Las Vegas, stayed at No. 2 in the poll. The Chiefs earned the remaining two first-place votes for 374 points.
And even without Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints remained at No. 3. Backup quarterback Taysom Hill led the Saints to a 24-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
McPhee on list
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens placed outside linebacker Pernell McPhee on the reserve/COVID-19 list, making him ineligible to play Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
McPhee joins running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, along with defensive tackle Brandon Williams, on the COVID-19 list.
The 31-year-old McPhee has 26 tackles and two sacks this season.
The Ravens cancelled practice Tuesday. All of the team’s daily activities were held virtually.