Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and linebacker/defensive end Kevin Greene are another step closer to making it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as both were among the 27 Class of 2013 semifinalists that were named on Friday.
Normally only 25 semifinalists are named at this stage of the process, but a 3-way tie meant that the list grew by 2 this year. The Selection Committee chose the 27 semifinalists from the previously announced list of 127 preliminary nominees that also included former Steelers head coaches Bill Cowher and Buddy Parker, kicker Gary Anderson, center Jeff Hartings, defensive coordinator Bud Carson and player personnel head Art Rooney Jr.
The list of 27 semifinalists that was announced on Thursday will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee.
Bettis was a finalist the last two years and this marks the sixth time that Greene has advanced to the semifinalist stage for potential induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Last year was the first year that Greene made it as a finalist.
Bettis played 10 seasons in Pittsburgh after playing his first 3 seasons in Los Angeles and St. Louis with the Rams. He currently ranks sixth on the all-time rushing yardage list with 13,662 yards.
Greene played 15 seasons in the NFL and 3 in Pittsburgh with Steelers from 1993-1995. He ranks 3rd on the all-time sack leader list with 160 and recorded 35.5 of the sacks while a member of the Steelers.
The other 25 semifinalists named on Friday are: Larry Allen, Morten Andersen, Steve Attwater, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Don Coryell, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Ed DeBartolo, Jr., Charles Haley, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, John Lynch, Karl Mecklenburg, Art Model, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Andre Reed, Warren Sapp, Will Shields, Micahel Strahan, Paul Tagliabue, Steve Tasker, Aeneas Williams and George Young.
The 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be announced Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl.