Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Patrick Willis, Bryant Young among Pro Football Hall of Fame nominees

Sep 22, 2021 at 11:17 AM--

It's shocking to fans that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis is still waiting to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Defensive tackle Bryant Young is still waiting too. Both Bay Area icons were among the list of 122 modern-era nominees eligible for the Class of 2022.

The other former 49ers players who were part of Wednesday's announced nominees are listed below.

  • K Gary Anderson
  • WR Anquan Boldin
  • QB Jeff Garcia
  • S Merton Hanks
  • TE Brent Jones
  • S Tim McDonald
  • P Reggie Roby
  • OL Jesse Sapolu
  • DE Justin Smith
  • LB Takeo Spikes
  • RB Ricky Watters
  • LB Patrick Willis
  • DT Bryant Young

In an article for NFL.com predicting the 2022 modern-era Hall of Fame class, analyst Adam Rank expressed shock that Willis still awaits his knock at the door.

"It's wild to me that Willis wasn't even a finalist last year," Rank wrote. "I don't know what more you want from the man. He dominated throughout his entire career. Was it not long enough for you? The guy was a five-time first-team All-Pro. He was an All-Pro in FIVE OF HIS EIGHT YEARS. I want a 30 For 30 on why he wasn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Because it defies logic."

The 122 modern-era nominees include 65 offensive players, 46 defensive players, and 11 special teams players. The list will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and then 15 finalists in January.

Willis and former wide receiver John Taylor will be inducted into the team's Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame this season.

"I'm truly honored, grateful," Willis said of his induction into the 49ers' own Hall of Fame. "The 49ers have a rich tradition and history. To know that I'll be a part of a group of guys that are very few, I'm just truly honored."

Young was inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame last year, with the team honoring that induction this season during Week 9. Willis and Taylor will be honored during Week 15.

First-Year Eligibles

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin, Devin Hester (also PR/KR), Andre Johnson, Steve Smith
Offensive Linemen: Jake Long (T), Nick Mangold (C)
Defensive Backs: Antonio Cromartie (CB)
Defensive Linemen: Robert Mathis (DE), Vince Wolfork (DT/NT)
Linebacker: DeMarcus Ware

Additional Nominees

Quarterback: Randall Cunningham, Jake Delhomme, Boomer Esiason, Jeff Garcia, Dave Krieg, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair

Running Backs: Shaun Alexander, Mike Alstott (FB), Tiki Barber, Earnest Byner, Larry Centers (FB), Corey Dillon, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Steven Jackson, Jamal Lewis, Eric Metcalf, Lorenzo Neal (FB), Fred Taylor, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Waters, Brian Westbrook

Wide Receivers: Troy Brown, Donald Driver, Henry Ellard (also PR), Torry Holt, Joe Horn, Chad Johnson, Derrick Mason, Muhsin Muhammad, Andre Rison, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark, Ben Coates, Brent Jones, Heath Miller, Wesley Walls

Offensive Linemen: Willie Anderson (T), Matt Birk (C), Tony Boselli (T), Lomas Brown (T), Ruben Brown (G), D'Brickashaw Ferguson (T), Kevin Glover (C/G), Jordan Gross (T), Olin Kreutz (C), Logan Mankins (G), Jesse Sapolu (C/G), Jeff Saturday (C), Chris Snee (G), Brian Waters (G), Richmond Webb (T), Erik Williams (T), Steve Wisniewski (G)

Defensive Linemen: John Abraham (DE also LB), Jared Allen (DE), La'Roi Glover (DT/NT), Casey Hampton (DT/NT), Leslie O'Neal (DE), Michael Dean Perry (DT/DE), Simeon Rice (DE), Richard Seymour (DT), Justin Smith (DE), Neil Smith (DE), Greg Townsend (DE/LB/DT/NT), Justin Tuck (DE), Kevin Williams (DT), Bryant Young (DT)

Linebackers: Cornelius Bennett, Lance Briggs, Tedy Bruschi, London Fletcher, Seth Joyner, Willie McGinest (also DE), Sam Mills, Hardy Nickerson Sr., Takeo Spikes, Pat Swilling (also DE), Zach Thomas, Patrick Willis

Defensive Backs: Eric Allen (CB), Ronde Barber (CB/S), Dre Bly (DB), LeRoy Butler (S), Nick Collins (S), Merton Hanks (S), Rodney Harrison (S), Albert Lewis (CB), Tim McDonald (S), Allen Rossum (DB), Asante Samuel (CB), Bob Sanders (S), Charles Tillman (CB), Troy Vincent (CB), Adrian Wilson (S), Darren Woodson (S)

Special Teams: Gary Anderson (K), Jeff Feagles (P), John Kasay (K), Sean Landeta (P), Ryan Longwell (K), Reggie Roby (P), Matt Turk (P), Josh Cribbs (KR/PR also WR), Mel Gray (PR/KR also WR), Brian Mitchell (KR/PR also RB), Steve Tasker (ST also WR)

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