Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Atwater, Johnson miss HOF cut
Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater (27) jumps into the air in an attempt to block Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre's pass during the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXII at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, Jan. 25, 1998. (AP Photo/John Gaps III)
FAYETTEVILLE A pair of former Arkansas players failed to make the list of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday.
Steve Atwater and Jimmy Johnson were two of 10 semifinalists dropped from consideration for 2014 induction into the hall of fame in Canton, Ohio.
Atwater was an 8-time Pro Bowl selection and won two Super Bowls in 10 seasons with the Denver Broncos. Johnson, now a FOX Sports analyst, won two Super Bowl championships in five seasons coaching the Dallas Cowboys and later spent four seasons as coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Atwater lettered at Arkansas from 1985-88 and finished his career with 229 tackles and a school-record 14 interceptions. He was drafted by the Broncos in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft.
Johnson was a guard for the Razorbacks from 1962-64, earning all-Southwest Conference honors during Arkansas' 1964 national championship season. He later won a national championship as head coach of the Miami Hurricanes and was inducted last year into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Atwater was a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist for the third consecutive year, while Johnson was a semifinalist for the first time. Other notable cuts Thursday included former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and 1998 NFL MVP Terrell Davis.
Arkansas has two former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lance Alworth was inducted in 1978 and Dan Hampton was inducted in 2002.