Faneca, Ward take next step to HOF

Several former Steelers took the next step toward football immortality when the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the semifinalists for the Class of 2019.

Among those who advanced are guard Alan Faneca and receiver Hines Ward.

Faneca, a finalist the last three years and semifinalist four times, was the Steelers first-round draft pick in 1998 and played 10 seasons for the black and gold, and 13 overall in the NFL. He was a member of the Super Bowl XL Championship team and was selected to nine Pro Bowls. Faneca was a six-time All-Pro selection and was named to the Steelers All-Time Team in 2007 and the NFL 2000's All-Decade Team.

Ward, a semifinalist for the third straight year, played 14 seasons for the Steelers, after being selected in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He played on two Super Bowl teams and was the MVP of Super Bowl XL. He had 1,000 career receptions for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns. His versatility was always on display with his blocking ability a shining example of that.

The 25 semifinalists will be trimmed to 15 Modern Era finalists on January 3.

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee will hold their annual meeting on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. The finalists will go from 15 to 10, and then down to five. The Class of 2019 will be announced during the "NFL Honors" show that evening.

The 2019 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will be held next August 3 in Canton, Ohio.

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