Reggie Wayne, Edgerrin James advance in pursuit of Pro Football Hall of Fame


Reggie Wayne (left) and Edgerrin James (right)/Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The pursuit of residency in Canton, Ohio, has picked up steam for Edgerrin James and Reggie Wayne.

Two of the most prolific players in Indianapolis Colts’ history are among the 25 Modern-day Semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. The list was announced Tuesday.

James, the Colts’ all-time rushing leader, has reached the Final 25 for a sixth time and has advanced to the Final 15 in the selection process in three of the last four years. He reached the Final 10 for the first time last year. Wayne is in his first year of eligibility. He trails only Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison in virtually every significant Colts’ career receiving category.

The list of Modern-era players will be cut to 15 Finalists Jan. 20. The 48-member Selection Committee – I am part of that group – will convene Feb. 1 in Miami, the day before Super Bowl LIV. A maximum of five Modern-era players will be selected for the Class of 2020.

James and Wayne were long-time offensive cornerstones with the Colts, and their impact is evident in team and NFL record books.

James ranks 13th in career rushing (12,246) and 16th in total yards from scrimmage (15,610). Of the NFL’s top 16 all-time rushers, only three are not in the Hall of Fame: James, Frank Gore (No. 3) and Adrian Peterson (No. 6). Gore and Peterson still are active.

The Colts selected him with the 4th overall pick in the 1999 draft and James’ impact was immediate and immense. He led the NFL in rushing in his first two seasons, including a team-record 1,709 yards in 2000. In seven seasons in Indy, James piled up a team-record 9,226 rushing yards.

Wayne, meanwhile, was a constant force after the Colts made him the 30th overall pick in 2001. His 14 seasons are tied for the 2nd-most in team history; only John Unitas (17) spent more time with the Colts. Wayne appeared in 211 regular-season games and 21 playoff games, both team records.

On the field, he was one of the Colts’ – and the league’s – most productive wideouts. Wayne ranks second in team history and 10th in NFL history with 1,070 receptions and 14,345 yards. He also was one of the league’s most prolific players in the postseason, ranking 3rd with 93 receptions, 5th with 1,254 yards and tied for 9th with 9 TDs.

Wayne is one of three first-time eligible candidates, joining safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker Patrick Willis. The complete list:

  • S Steve Atwater.
  • LB Carl Banks.
  • DB Ronde Barber.
  • OT Tony Boselli.
  • WR Isaac Bruce.
  • S LeRoy Butler.
  • G Alan Faneca.
  • WR Torry Holt.
  • G Steve Hutchison.
  • RB Edgerrin James.
  • S John Lynch.
  • LB Clay Matthews.
  • LB Sam Mills.
  • S Troy Polamalu.
  • DE Simeon Rice.
  • DL Richard Seymour.
  • WR/ST Steve Tasker.
  • RB Fred Taylor.
  • LB Zach Thomas.
  • WR Hines Ward.
  • RB Ricky Watters.
  • WR Reggie Wayne.
  • LB Patrick Willis.
  • S Darren Woodson.
  • DT Bryant Young.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51

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