NASHVILLE, Tenn. —A pair of original Titans greats — running back Eddie George and defensive end Jevon Kearse — are among 99 players nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
In addition, former Titans center Kevin Mawae and kicker Gary Anderson are on the preliminary list that was announced Tuesday night by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A first-round pick by the Houston Oilers in 1996, George went on to become the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 10,009 yards and 64 rushing TDs as the team's starting running back from 1996-2003. He also added 259 receptions for 2,144 yards and 10 TDs.
George earned NFL Rookie of the Year honors in 1996 and made four consecutive Pro Bowls (1997-00) during a stretch in which he helped lead the Titans to an AFC Championship and appearance in Super Bowl XXXIV in the franchise's historical 1999 season.
George, who played his final NFL season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2004, is only the second NFL running back to rush for 10,000 yards and never miss a start, joining Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown. Among NFL running backs, only Walter Payton (170) started more consecutive regular-season games than George's 130.
George finished his career with 10,441 rushing yards, 68 rushing TDs, 268 receptions (2,227 yards) and 10 receiving TDs.
Kearse, a first-time Pro Football Hall of Fame nominee, was the Titans' first-round pick in 1999 and nicknamed "The Freak" with his 4.43 speed, 86-inch wingspan and 38-inch vertical leap. He was named the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after a bursting onto the NFL scene with 14.5 sacks in 1999, and made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons in the league.
Kearse played his first five NFL seasons in Tennessee before joining the Philadelphia Eagles as an unrestricted free agent in 2004. He played four seasons in Philadelphia and later returned to Nashville to finish out his final two NFL seasons as a Titan from 2008-09.
Kearse ranks sixth on the Oilers/Titans all-time sack list (51.0) and finished his career with 74.0 total sacks.
Mawae played his last four NFL seasons in Tennessee from 2006-09, earning two Pro Bowl appearances. He began his NFL career in Seattle (1994-1997) before spending his next eight seasons with the New York Jets from 1998-2005.
Mawae was an eight-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro who played a key role in helping Chris Johnson become only the sixth running back in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards during the 2009 season.
Anderson played the final two seasons (2003-04) of his legendary 23-year NFL career with the Titans. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1982-95, later having stints in Philadelphia (1995-96), San Francisco (1997) and Minnesota (1998-02) before joining the Titans in 2003 following an injury to then Titans kicker Joe Nedney.
His most memorable moment as a Titan came when he kicked the game-winning field goal in an AFC wild card game to defeat the Ravens in Baltimore following the 2003 regular season.
His career highlights include making all 35 field goal attempts during the 1998 regular season for the Vikings. He moved past George Blanda as the NFL's all-time leading scorer in 2000 before being passed by Morten Andersen in 2006, and converted 538-of-672 career field goal attempts (80.1 percent).
This year's list of modern-era nominees includes 99 players and 14 coaches. A Modern-Era candidate – player or coach – must be retired for at least five consecutive seasons to be eligible for consideration. The complete list of Modern-Era candidates for the Class of 2015 consists of 113 nominees. From that list, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees that will be announced in late November. That semifinalist list will be further reduced by a mail ballot to 15 Modern-Era finalists and announced in early January.
The Class of 2015 will be selected from the list of the 15 Modern-Era finalists plus the one Senior finalist (former Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff) selected last month by the Hall of Fame's Senior Selection Committee, and two yet-to-be-determined Contributor finalists who will be selected by the Hall of Fame's Contributor Selection Committee.
The Senior finalist and Contributor finalists will be voted yes or no for election at the Annual Selection Meeting. Like the Modern-Era finalists, the senior and contributor nominees must receive an 80 percent positive vote to be elected. While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the selection process by-laws provide that between four and eight new members will be selected.
The actual voting for the Class of 2015 will be conducted at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee's annual meeting, which will be held in Arizona on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 the day before Super Bowl XLIX. The results will be announced that evening. The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 will be formally enshrined during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in Canton, Ohio next August. The Enshrinement ceremony is televised nationally by the Hall of Fame's broadcast partners, NFL Network and ESPN. List of Modern-Era Nominees for the Class of 2015
Finalist in 2014;First-year eligibles underlined* * *
Quarterbacks:(4) – Randall Cunningham, Rich Gannon, Phil Simms, Kurt Warner * *
Wide Receivers:(9) – Tim Brown (also KR), Isaac Bruce, Gary Clark, Henry Ellard (also PR), *Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith * **
Tight End:(1) – Mark Bavaro * *
Running Backs:(14) – Shaun Alexander, Ottis Anderson, Tiki Barber, Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig, Stephen Davis, Terrell Davis, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Edgerrin James, Daryl Johnston, Jamal Lewis, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Watters * **
Offensive Linemen:(23) –*Willie Anderson (T), Tony Boselli (T), Jeff Bostic (C), Lomas Brown (T), Jim Covert (T), Bill Fralic (G/T), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Joe Jacoby (T), Jon Jansen (T), Mike Kenn (T), Jim Lachey (T), Kevin Mawae (C/G), Mark May (G/T/C),Tom Nalen (C), Nate Newton (G), Orlando Pace (T), Chris Samuels (T), Mark Schlereth (G), *Will Shields (G), Tra Thomas (T), Steve Wisniewski (G) *
Defensive Linemen:(12) – Al "Bubba" Baker (DE), Jerome Brown (DT), Carl Hairston (DE/DT), Charles Haley (also LB), Jevon Kearse (DE), Dexter Manley (DE), Charles Mann (DE), Steve McMichael (DT/NT), Fred Smerlas (NT), Greg Townsend (DE), Ted Washington (DT/NT), Bryant Young (DE) * **
Linebackers:(13) – Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, *Kevin Greene (also DE), Ken Harvey, Clay Matthews, Willie McGinest (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Matt Millen, Sam Mills, Junior Seau, Chris Spielman, Darryl Talley, Zach Thomas
Defensive Backs: (16) – Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Joey Browner (S), LeRoy Butler (S), Thomas Everett (S), Rodney Harrison (S), Ty Law (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), *John Lynch (S), Terry McDaniel (CB), Tim McDonald (S), Frank Minnifield (CB), Shawn Springs (CB), Troy Vincent (CB/S), Everson Walls (CB), Darren Woodson (S)
Kickers/Punters:(5) – Morten Andersen (K),* **Gary Anderson (K), Jason Elam (K), Sean Landeta (P), Nick Lowery (K)
Special Teams/Position Players:(2) –*Brian Mitchell (RB/PR/KR), *Steve Tasker (also WR)
Coaches: (14) –Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, *Tony Dungy, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Lou Saban, Marty Schottenheimer, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil
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