Tuesday's NFL: Ex-Wolverine Hutchinson on Hall of Fame list
Safety Troy Polamalu, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and linebacker Patrick Willis are first-year eligible players among the 25 semifinalists of the modern era for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Also on the list, which will be cut to 15 on Jan. 2, are previous finalists John Lynch, Steve Atwater, Tony Boselli, Steve Hutchinson (Michigan), Isaac Bruce, Edgerrin James and Alan Faneca.
Five former players will be elected to the class of 2020 on Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl. They will be inducted into the Canton, Ohio, shrine in August.
The hall also will induct 10 senior candidates, three contributors and two coaches in a special centennial class in 2020.
There are 14 defensive players, 10 on offense, and one special-teamer, Steve Tasker, who also played wide receiver for Buffalo.
Four players make the semifinals for the first time: linebacker Carl Banks, running backs Fred Taylor and Ricky Watters, and defensive tackle Bryant Young. Every other semifinalist for 2020 has gotten this far before.
There are six defensive backs in the group: Polamalu, Lynch, Atwater, Ronde Barber, LeRoy Butler and Darren Woodson.
Five receivers make the list: Wayne, Bruce, Torry Holt, Hines Ward, and Tasker. There also are five linebackers: Willis, Banks, Clay Matthews, Sam Mills and Zach Thomas.
Hutchinson, Faneca and Boselli are the offensive linemen. Taylor, Watters and James are the running backs. Defensive linemen are Young, Richard Seymour and Simeon Rice.
The semifinalists, in alphabetical order:
Steve Atwater, safety
Carl Banks, linebacker
Ronde Barber, CB/safety
Tony Boselli, tackle
Isaac Bruce, wide receiver
LeRoy Butler, safety
Alan Faneca, guard
Torry Holt, wide receiver
Steve Hutchinson, guard
Edgerrin James, RB
John Lynch, safety
Clay Matthews, linebacker
Sam Mills, linebacker
Troy Polamalu, safety
Simeon Rice, defensive end
Richard Seymour, DE
Steve Tasker, WR
Fred Taylor, running back
Zach Thomas, linebacker
Hines Ward, wide receiver
Ricky Watters, RB
Reggie Wayne, receiver
Patrick Willis, linebacker
Darren Woodson, safety
Bryant Young, DT
Ravens on winning streak
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Ravens’ seven-game winning streak and the stellar play of Lamar Jackson is how easily the team and its quarterback have steamrolled several of the best teams in the NFL.
The defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams, playing at home on Monday night, were victimized by Jackson and a swarming defense in a 45-6 blowout. Jackson threw five touchdown passes, ran for 95 yards and seemingly moved closer to putting an MVP trophy next to the Heisman he received in 2016 with Louisville.
“He’s an MVP for a reason, with what he’s doing and the whole team,” said Rams safety Eric Weddle, who played the previous three seasons with Baltimore.
Jackson is more interested in a different piece of hardware — the one that comes with winning the NFL championship.
“I’m not worried about MVP. If it comes, it comes,” he said. “I’ll be satisfied; but I’m trying to win a Super Bowl. That’s a team award; that’s what I want.”
Baltimore (9-2) still trails the Patriots by a game in the race for top seed in the AFC. But if the Ravens must play at New England in the postseason, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be overwhelmed by the assignment.
Falcons running back Devonta Freeman has returned to practice for the first time since suffering a sprained foot.
Wide receiver Julio Jones, who suffered a shoulder injury in Atlanta’s loss to Tampa Bay last week, did not participate in Tuesday’s practice.
... Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi is back on the active roster after serving a one-game suspension for his involvement in the recent brawl with the Steelers.