Football

Former Saint Andersen makes Hall of Fame finalist list

Former Saints kicker Morten Andersen was inducted into the Saints Ring of Honor in 2015. The NFL announced Tuesday that Andersen also is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which will be announced Super Bowl weekend.
Former Saints kicker Morten Andersen was inducted into the Saints Ring of Honor in 2015. The NFL announced Tuesday that Andersen also is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which will be announced Super Bowl weekend. Advocate staff photo

First-year eligibles LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor and Brian Dawkins are among 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Also making the finals are former Saints place-kicker Morten Andersen, Tony Boselli, Isaac Bruce, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Alan Faneca, Joe Jacoby, Ty Law, John Lynch, Kevin Mawae, Terrell Owens and Kurt Warner.

Previously selected as a finalist by the veterans committee is former Seattle safety Kenny Easley.

In the contributors’ category, the nominees are former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The class of 2017 will be elected on Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl in Houston. Inductions will be Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio.

Other than Tomlinson, Taylor and Dawkins, first-time finalists are Boselli, Bruce, Law, Mawae, Easley and Jones.

Most-frequent finalists are Lynch, Tagliabue and Coryell, four apiece. Davis and Warner are three-time finalists.

A fourth-round pick in 1982, Andersen spent the first 13 years of his career in New Orleans before bouncing around with the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings, eventually playing 25 seasons in the NFL.

By the time Andersen retired, the Great Dane held NFL records for games (382), field goals (565) and points (2,544). Named All-Pro four times, Andersen made six Pro Bowls as a Saint and was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor last season.

If selected, he would become only the second kicker to be enshrined. Jan Stenerud was inducted in 1991.

Coryell, an offensive mastermind with the Cardinals and Chargers, is in his 30th year of eligibility. Easley is in his 25th, while Jacoby, the left tackle on the Redskins’ offensive line known as the “Hogs”, is in his 19th.

Tomlinson played 11 NFL seasons, nine with San Diego, winning league MVP honors in 2006 when he set a record with 28 rushing touchdowns. He won two rushing titles.

Dawkins spent 16 seasons in the NFL, 13 with Philadelphia, and was considered a prototype modern safety. He made four All-Pro teams and was the first player with a sack, interception, fumble recovery and touchdown catch in the same game (vs. Houston in 2002).

Taylor was one of the NFL’s top pass rushers for 15 seasons, mostly with Miami. The 2006 Defensive Player of the Year with 13 1 / 2 sacks, he had 139 1 / 2 sacks for his career.

Among the other modern-era finalists, Andersen is the NFL’s career scoring leader with 2,544 points, has the most field goals (565) and games (382) playing for five franchises. He made two all-decade teams (1980s and ‘90s).

Bruce, Davis, Faneca, Jacoby, Law, Lynch and Warner all won Super Bowls.

Joel Erickson of The Advocate contributed to this report.

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