Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne Named Semifinalists For Pro Football Hall of Fame Class Of 2023

Defensive end Dwight Freeney is a semifinalist in his first year of eligibility, while wide receiver Reggie Wayne and defensive end Robert Mathis are semifinalists for the fourth and second year in a row, respectively. 

Dwight Freeney

The Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced 28 modern era semifinalists for its Class of 2023, with three Colts greats advancing to the next stage of consideration for a gold jacket: Defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis and wide receiver Reggie Wayne.

Wayne has been a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist in each of his first three years on the ballot (2020-2022), and has advanced to being a finalist in each of those three years. The current Colts wide receivers coach compiled Hall of Fame-worthy career with the Colts from 2001-2014 with 14,345 yards and 82 touchdowns; he's also among the most productive wide receivers in playoff history with 93 receptions (second all-time) and 1,243 yards (fourth). He played at a Hall of Fame-worthy level for over a decade, and it should be a matter of when – not if – Wayne takes his rightful place in Canton.

Freeney earned his spot as a semifinalist in his first year on the ballot with his 125 1/2 career sacks, which ranks 26th in NFL history. He was a three-time first-team AP All-Pro (2004, 2005, 2009) and seven-time Pro Bowler (2003-2005, 2008-2011) whose patented spin move terrorized opposing offenses for a decade and a half. Freeney had 10 or more sacks in seven seasons and four or more forced fumbles in eight seasons, and was included on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's first-team All-2000s team.

Mathis, a semifinalist in his first year of eligibility in the class of 2022, should earn strong consideration again for his title as the NFL's strip-sack king. He's the NFL's all-time leader in forced fumbles (52) and strip-sacks (47), and amassed a Colts record 123 sacks over a 14-year career spent entirely in Indianapolis. Mathis was a five-time Pro Bowler (2008-2010, 2012-2013) and earned first-team AP All-Pro honors in 2013, when he led the NFL with 19 1/2 sacks and 10 forced fumbles.

Wide receiver Andre Johnson, who played for the Colts in 2015, was also named a semifinalist on Wednesday.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce 15 modern era Class of 2023 finalists in early January. From there, the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee will meet early in 2023 to determine who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2023.

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