Several former Steelers took the next step toward football immortality when the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the Modern Era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
Linebacker James Harrison, who is a first-year nominee, and receiver Hines Ward are among those who will take the next step.
Harrison was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year during the 2008 Super Bowl season, finishing the season with 16 sacks, a team record at the time that has since been surpassed by T.J. Watt. He was voted first-team Associated Press All-Pro twice, a Pro Bowl selection five consecutive years (2007-11) and twice voted Steelers MVP (2007-08).
His 100-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII was a legendary play he will forever be remembered for. Harrison, who originally signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2002 and played 14 seasons with the team, holds the Steelers record with 80.5 career sacks.
Ward, a semifinalist for the seventh straight year, played 14 seasons for the Steelers, after being selected in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft. 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. Ward is a member of the Steelers Hall of Honor.
Ward was the MVP of Super Bowl XL after leading the Steelers to a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. In three Super Bowls, Ward registered 14 receptions for 244 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers' 2008 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Ward was named to four Pro Bowls (2002-05) and was a member of the team's 75th Season All-Time Team. Ward was selected by his teammates as the Steelers MVP three times in his career, including 2002 along with Joey Porter, 2003, and 2005 with Casey Hampton.
The list will be reduced to 15 Modern-Era finalists.
Fan Voting Contest: The annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Vote has launched. Fans can start voting as many times as they wish at www.profootballhof.com/fanvote to predict the five Modern-Era Players who will be elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2023. (This fan vote is for entertainment purposes only and does not factor into the overall results for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.)
Fans who vote automatically become eligible for sweepstakes prizes, including a Grand Prize trip for two (2) to the 2023 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls in Canton.