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Colts greats Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne named semifinalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024

Wayne is a semifinalist for the fifth time, while it's Mathis' third time as a semifinalist and Freeney's second. 


Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne on Tuesday moved one step closer to Canton, with the three Colts legends among 25 modern era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024. 

For Wayne, it's his fifth time as a semifinalist – and he's been a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in each of his first four years of eligibility. Freeney was a finalist last year, his first year of eligibility, while Mathis has been a semifinalist in each of his three years of eligibility. 

Wayne has fallen short of induction despite compiling a Hall of Fame-worthy career with the Colts from 2001-2014, in which he totaled 14,345 yards and 82 touchdowns. Wayne, now in his second year as the Colts' wide receivers coach, also stands among the most productive wide receivers in playoff history with 93 receptions (second all-time) and 1,243 yards (fourth). It's surprising Wayne has had to wait this long despite his remarkable career; hopefully, it's just a matter of time before he dons a gold jacket. Wayne is one of six former wide receivers to be named a semifinalist, joining Anquan Boldin, Torry Holt, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith Sr. and Hines Ward. 

Freeney 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. The Syracuse product's 125 1/2 career sacks rank 26th in NFL history, and Freeney had 10 or more sacks in seven seasons. Like his teammate and fellow semifinalist Mathis, Freeney was particularly adept at not just sacking quarterbacks, but getting the ball out: He had four or more forced fumbles in eight seasons. Freney was included on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's first-team All-2000s team.

Mathis' title as the NFL's strip-sack king will continue to earn him worthy consideration from the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. 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.

Mathis and Freeney are among five former defensive linemen to earn semifinalist recognition, along with Jared Allen, Julius Peppers and Vince Wilfork. 

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

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce 15 modern era Class of 2024 finalists in early January. From there, the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee will meet early in 2024 to determine who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2024.

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