7 Colts Greats Nominated For Pro Football Hall Of Fame's Class Of 2023

Defensive end Dwight Freeney is a nominee in his first year of eligibility, while wide receiver Reggie Wayne was a finalist and defensive end Robert Mathis was a semifinalist last year. 

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced 129 modern era nominees for its Class of 2023, and seven Colts greats are up for consideration (years with Colts in parentheses):

  • WR Reggie Wayne (2001-2014)
  • TE Dallas Clark (2003-2011)
  • C Jeff Saturday (1999-2011)
  • DE Dwight Freeney (2002-2012)
  • DE Robert Mathis (2003-2016)
  • S Bob Sanders (2004-2010)
  • P Pat McAfee (2009-2016)

Other former Colts up for induction are wide receiver Andre Johnson (2015), wide receiver Andre Rison (1989), defensive end Simeon Rice (2007), linebacker Cornelius Bennett (1999-2000) and cornerback Antonio Cromartie (2016).

Wayne has been a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist in each of his first three years on the ballot (2020-2022). The current Colts wide receivers coach put together a Hall of Fame-worthy career 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).

Clark caught 427 passes for 4,887 yards with 46 touchdowns in 115 games with the Colts. He earned first-team AP All-Pro honors in 2009 with career highs in catches (100) and yards (1,106); his 10 touchdowns were the second-most he had in a season over his 11-year playing career.

Saturday was a six-time Pro Bowler (five with the Colts) and a two-time first-team AP All-Pro (2005, 2007) as the man in the middle of some of the NFL's best offenses in the early 2000's. Saturday's six Pro Bowl appearances are tied for 11th-most all time among centers.

Freeney was a three-time first-team AP All-Pro (2004, 2005, 2009) and seven-time Pro Bowler (2003-2005, 2008-2011) whose 125 1/2 sacks are 26th all-time. 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. This is Freeney's first time as a nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mathis was a semifinalist in his first year of eligibility in the class of 2022. 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 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.

Sanders was the 2007 AP Defensive Player of the Year and earned first-team AP All-Pro honors twice (2005, 2007). In 2007, Sanders had 97 tackles, two interceptions, four pass break-ups, three and a half sacks, six tackles for a loss and four quarterback hits.

McAfee was a two-time Pro Bowler (2014, 2016) and a first-team AP All-Pro in 2014. He led the NFL with 30 punts downed inside the 20-yard line in 2014 and with a 49.3 yards per punt average in 2016.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce 25 semifinalists for the Class of 2023 in November, and 15 finalists will be announced 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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