Ten people who have some history with the Steelers franchise are among the 133 players, coaches and contributors who make up the preliminary list of modern-era nominees for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2009.
Cornerback Rod Woodson, center Dermontti Dawson, safety Donnie Shell and linebackers Kevin Greene and Hardy Nickerson all played multiple seasons for the team, while tight end Brent Jones was drafted by the Steelers in 1986 before being waived as a rookie and signing with the San Francisco 49ers. Former head coach Buddy Parker is on the list, as is Art Rooney Jr., who headed the team's personnel department through the 1970s. Quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson is a nominee for his time as a quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals while former offensive line coach Russ Grimm is a nominee for his career as a guard with the Washington Redskins.
From this preliminary list of modern-era nominees, Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees. The list of 25 modern-era semifinalists will be announced later next month.
The 25 modern-era semifinalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists.
The final list of nominees that will be considered for election will consist of the 15 modern-era finalists and the two previously announced senior nominees, Bob Hayes and Claude Humphrey. Hayes and Humphrey were selected this past August by the Hall of Fame's Senior Selection Committee.
The Class of 2009 will be selected from the list of 17 finalists (15 modern-era and two senior nominees). The actual voting will be conducted at the Hall of Fame Selection Committee's annual meeting, on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009, in Tampa, the day before Super Bowl XLIII. The election results will be announced immediately after the meeting. While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the ground rules provide that between four and seven new members will be selected.
The preliminary list includes 110 players, seven coaches and 16 contributors. All that needs to be done to get onto the preliminary list is to be nominated.
To be considered for Hall of Fame election, a nominated player or coach must have been retired at least five years. A contributor, who is a nominee who has made outstanding career contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing or coaching, may still be active in his pro football career.