Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomes 8 members

CANTON, Ohio — Oakland Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Tony Boselli and coach Dick Vermeil led a class of eight into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday.

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LeRoy Butler, Bryant Young, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour, and Art McNally also were inducted.

It was the first time since 2012 that a player eligible in his first year for enshrinement was not selected, ESPN reported.

The winners were announced live on “NFL Honors,” which aired on ABC.

Branch, who died in 2019, enters the Hall as a seniors finalist, while Vermeil was named as a coach finalist and former referee McNally was the contributors finalist, ESPN reported.

Branch played 14 seasons with the Raiders and caught 501 passes for 8,685 yards and 88 touchdowns.

Boselli, 49, who was an offensive lineman for Jacksonville from 1995 to 2001 in a career cut short by injuries, is the first Jaguars player to be enshrined in Canton. He was a finalist for the sixth consecutive year.

“Tony’s well-deserved selection for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is long overdue and one of the greatest moments in the history of our franchise,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “Tony embraced being a Jaguar from the moment he was drafted and from there fought for Jacksonville as one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever play the game.”

Boselli was the Jaguars’ first-ever pick in 1995 and was a three-time All-Pro. He helped the Jaguars reach the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, including a berth in the 1996 AFC Championship Game.

Vermeil coached for 15 seasons and led the Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl XV after the 1980 season. He led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl title after the 1999 season. Vermeil, who also coached five seasons at Kansas City, finished with a 229-120 record.

Butler, who invited the Lambeau Leap celebration, was the only defensive starter from the 1990s All-Decade team who had not previously been enshrined, according to ESPN.

He had 38 career interceptions, was a four-time All-Pro and helped Green Bay win a Super Bowl title after the 1996 season.

Young, a defensive tackle, was in his 10th year of eligibility. He was an anchor for the 49ers; defense for 14 seasons. He had 89.5 career sacks and was a two-time All-Pro. He also won Comeback Player of the Year honors in 1999 following a broken leg, according to The Associated Press.

Mills was a five-time Pro Bowl selection with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers and also spent time in the USFL. He was in his final year of eligibility.

Seymour helped the New England Patriots to their three Super Bowl titles. He joins cornerback Ty Law (Class of 2019) as the first two defenders from those Patriots teams in the Hall. Seymour was a first-team All-Pro from 2003 to 2005 and had 57.5 sack. He was also a member of the 2000s all-decade team.

McNally was an officiating pioneer who used video to evaluate and teach officials was revolutionary. He also was a proponent for the use of replay.

The other modern-era finalists who missed induction this year were:

  • Jared Allen, DE, Kansas City Chiefs (2004-07), Minnesota Vikings (2008-13), Chicago Bears (2014-15), Carolina Panthers (2015);
  • Willie Anderson, OT, Cincinnati Bengals (1996-2007), Baltimore Ravens (2008);
  • Ronde Barber, DB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1997-2012);
  • Devin Hester, KR/PR/WR, Chicago Bears (2006-13), Atlanta Falcons (2014-15), Baltimore Ravens (2016), Seattle Seahawks (2016);
  • Torry Holt, WR, St. Louis Rams (1999-2008), Jacksonville Jaguars (2009);
  • Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans (2003-14), Indianapolis Colts (2015), Tennessee Titans (2016);
  • Zach Thomas, LB, Miami Dolphins (1996-2007), Dallas Cowboys (2008);
  • DeMarcus Ware, LB, Dallas Cowboys (2005-13), Denver Broncos (2014-16);
  • Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts (2001-14);
  • Patrick Willis, LB, San Francisco 49ers (2007-14).

Information from was used in this report.

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