CANTON, Ohio — Star linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher and game-breaking wide receiver Randy Moss are among 11 first-year eligible players for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Also part of the 108 early nominees who are eligible for the first time, having been retired for five years when the class is chosen next February, are cornerback Ronde Barber, wideout Donald Driver, offensive linemen Steve Hutchinson, Matt Birk, and Jeff Saturday, and defensive linemen Richard Seymour and Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Steve Smith — the former New York Giants receiver, not the former Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens star — is also eligible for the first time. The Steve Smith of Panthers and Ravens fame retired last year and is not yet eligible.
The roster of nominees consists of 53 offensive players, 38 defensive players, five special teams players and 12 coaches. Modern era nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and, from there, to 15 finalists in January.
During Super Bowl week, 48 voters will discuss the finalists, plus senior nominees Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer and contributors nominee Bobby Beathard. There is no set number for any class of enshrinees, though between four and eight new members will be selected.
Returning finalists from 2017 are receivers Isaac Bruce and Terrell Owens; center Kevin Mawae; tackles Tony Boselli and Joe Jacoby; guard Alan Faneca; safeties John Lynch and Brian Dawkins; cornerback Ty Law; and coach Don Coryell.
Enshrinement will be next August in Canton.