CANTON, Ohio – Deion Sanders, Curtis Martin, Marshall Faulk and Jerome Bettis are among the first-year eligible candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2011.
In all, there are 113 modern-era nominees, the Hall announced Monday. From that list, Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 as semifinalists; that group will be announced in November.
The semifinalists will be reduced to 15 finalists and will be announced in early January. Election for the Hall takes place the day before the Super Bowl in February.
Selected in August as senior nominees are former Redskins linebacker Chris Hanburger and former Rams linebacker Les Richter.
Also on the modern era list as first-time nominees are Jimmy Smith, Willie Roaf and former coach Dick Vermeil.
In 2008, the Hall of Fame modified its bylaws for the selection committee making it mandatory for coaches to be retired five consecutive seasons before becoming eligible. Before that, coaches were eligible immediately upon retirement. So Vermeil was nominated in 2001 and again in 2007. This is his first year of eligibility since the change in the bylaws.
Also on the preliminary list are former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime team owners Bud Adams Jr. of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans and Art Modell of the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens.
A minimum of four and maximum of seven new members will be selected.