Curtis Martin starts his climb again. And perhaps in Year 2 the Jets great will stand on pro football’s summit.
Martin, who reached the “final 10″ in last year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame balloting in his first year of eligibility, is one of 26 modern-era semifinalists for the Hall of Fame’s 2012 class, which will be determined at the annual meeting of the Hall’s selection committee on Saturday, Feb. 4, in Indianapolis the day before Super Bowl XLVI.
And wouldn’t it be fitting and touching if Martin entered the hallowed halls with his mentor? Bill Parcells, the Jets head coach from 1997-99 who brought Martin to the Jets for the 1998 season, is also a semifinalist this year.
The Hall of Fame explains that although Parcells technically is a first-year-eligible candidate, he has been a finalist twice before, in 2001 and ’02, following his announced retirement as Jets head coach in ’99. At the time, the Hall of Fame by-laws did not require a coach to be retired the now mandatory five seasons. Parcells returned to coach the Dallas Cowboys in 2003 and the five-year waiting period was in effect when he retired from coaching in 2006.
Other players with Jets connections on the list are Steve Atwater, a 10-year safety with the Broncos who spenth his last pro season in 1999 with the Green & White, and Ron Wolf, the Packers GM who in his pro travels spent the 1990 season in the Jets’ personnel department.
Six others with Jets ties are already in the Canton shrine: QB Joe Namath, WR Don Maynard, coach Weeb Ewbank, RB John Riggins, S Ronnie Lott and WR Art Monk.
Here is the complete list of 26 modern-era semifinalists:
■ Steve Atwater, S — 1989-98 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets
■ Jerome Bettis, RB — 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
■ Tim Brown, WR/KR — 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
■ Cris Carter, WR — 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
■ Don Coryell, Coach — 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
■ Roger Craig, RB — 1983-90 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
■ Terrell Davis, RB — 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
■ Dermontti Dawson, C — 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
■ Edward DeBartolo Jr., Owner — 1979-2000 San Francisco 49ers
■ Chris Doleman, DE/LB — 1985-93, ’99 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
■ Kevin Greene, LB/DE — 1985-92 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, ’98-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
■ Charles Haley, DE/LB — 1986-91, ’99 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
■ Cortez Kennedy, DT — 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
■ Curtis Martin, RB — 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
■ Clay Matthews, LB — 1978-93 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
■ Karl Mecklenburg, LB — 1983-94 Denver Broncos
■ Bill Parcells, Coach — 1983-90 New York Giants, 1993-96 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
■ Andre Reed, WR — 1985-99 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
■ Willie Roaf, T — 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
■ Donnie Shell, S — 1974-87 Pittsburgh Steelers
■ Will Shields, G — 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
■ Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner — 1989-2006 National Football League
■ Steve Tasker, ST/WR — 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-97 Buffalo Bills
■ Aeneas Williams, CB/S — 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
■ Ron Wolf, Contributor — 1963-74, ’78-90 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, ’75-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ’90 New York Jets, 1991-2001 Green Bay Packers
■ George Young, Contributor — 1968-74 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-97 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League
The process from here:
The list of 26 semifinalists 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, announced in August — CB Jack Butler, Pittsburgh Steelers (1951-59) and G Dick Stanfel, Detroit Lions (1952-55) and Washington Redskins (1956-58).
The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced in early January.
Although there is no set number of enshrinees for any Hall of Fame class, the Hall’s current ground rules do stipulate that from four to seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be chosen in a given year and a class of six or seven enshrinees can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected.
Tags: Bill Parcells, Curtis Martin, Don Maynard, Joe Namath, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ron Wolf, Weeb Ewbank
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