2 former Razorbacks named semifinalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

By: Matt Jones
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2018
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)
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 — Two former Arkansas football players are semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

Steve Atwater and Jimmy Johnson are among 25 modern-day semifinalists for the hall. Atwater is a semifinalist for the eighth consecutive year and Johnson is a semifinalist the third year in a row.

Atwater was a two-time Super Bowl champion and eight-time Pro Bowl safety with the Denver Broncos from 1989-98, and finished his career during a short stint with the New York Jets. He was a two-time All-Southwest Conference player for the Razorbacks from 1985-88 and is the program's career leader with 14 interceptions.

Johnson helped build the Dallas Cowboys dynasty in the 1990s and won two Super Bowl championships as the team's head coach. He was an All-SWC offensive lineman on the Razorbacks' national championship team in 1964.

Arkansas has had three former players - Lance Alworth, Dan Hampton and Jerry Jones - inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jones was inducted in 2017 for his role as owner of the Dallas Cowboys, while Alworth (1978) and Hampton (2002) were inducted as players.

The Hall of Fame will name 15 finalists in January and the next induction class will be announced the week of the Super Bow LIII in February.

Finalists must receive at least 80 percent of the votes from the Hall of Fame's 48-member selection committee to be inducted. Atwater was a finalist in 2016.

Semifinalists who are in their first year of eligibility for the hall are Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed and Champ Bailey.

Other semifinalists are: Ronde Barber, Tony Boselli, Isaac Bruce, LeRoy Butler, Don Coryell, Alan Faneca, Tom Flores, Torry Holt, Steve Hutchinson, Edgerrin James, Ty Law, John Lynch, Clay Matthews, Kevin Mawae, Karl Mecklenburg, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour, Zach Thomas, Hines Ward and Darren Woodson.

Former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen previously were chosen as finalists as contributors, and former Kansas City Chiefs player Johnny Robinson is a finalist as a senior candidate.

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