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Bettis, Dawson, Martin are Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists

CANTON, Ohio — Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, Pitt product Curtis Martin and Marshall Faulk — three of the top 10 rushers in NFL history — are among 26 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2011.

Two other star running backs, Terrell Davis and Roger Craig, are on the list released yesterday.

Bettis ranks as the No. 5 overall rusher with 13,662 yards in 13 seasons — three for the Rams and a decade with the Steelers, with whom he won the 2006 Super Bowl in his final game.

Martin retired from the New York Jets as the fourth overall rusher with 14,101 yards in 11 seasons. One of the most consistent backs of his era, he ran for 1,000 yards in 10 straight seasons.

Faulk is 10th in rushing with 12,279 yards for the Colts and Rams and won the 2000 Super Bowl with St. Louis. A a prime receiver out of the backfield, Faulk was the 2000 NFL MVP.

Davis also was a league MVP, in 1998 with Denver, and won two Super Bowls with the Broncos. Craig won Super Bowls with San Francisco in 1985, 89 and ’90.

Cornerback Deion Sanders also is on the list and, like Martin, Bettis and Faulk, is in his first year of eligibility. Sanders scored nine times on interceptions, also played offense at times, and is a former major league baseball player. He won the 1995 Super Bowl with San Francisco and the 1996 game with Dallas.

Two other former Steelers are among the semifinalists. Dermontti Dawson played for Pittsburgh from 1988-2000 and was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection at center. Linebacker Kevin Greene, whose 160 sacks are third all-time, played three of his 15 seasons (1993-95) with the Steelers.

The list will be cut to 17, including senior committee nominees Chris Hanburger, a Redskins linebacker from 1965-78, and Les Richter, a Rams linebacker from 1954-62. Between four and seven enshrinees — no more than five modern-day nominees can make it — will be announced Feb. 5, the day before the Super Bowl.

The actual enshrinement will be in August.

Additional Information:

Other semifinalists

• Wide receivers — Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Andre Reed

• Tight ends — Shannon Sharpe

• Offensive linemen — Willie Roaf

• Defensive linemen — Charles Haley, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Richard Dent

• Cornerbacks  — Aeneas Williams, Lester Hayes

• Punters  — Ray Guy

• Administration — Paul Tagliabue, Art Modell, Ed DeBartolo Jr., George Young, Don Coryell

• Contributors — Ed Sabol


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