Richard Dent named a semifinalist for Hall of Fame

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MINNEAPOLIS–For the sixth straight year, Richard Dent has been announced as a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That hasn’t been an issue for the MVP of Super Bowl XX. It’s been getting over the hump on the day the final votes are held. Dent might have a better chance this time around. Dent made the cut from 15 to 10 in the voting process last year for the second straight year. Two pass rushers have been selected in the last two classes–Bruce Smith and Derrick Thomas this year–and Fred Dean and Andre Tippett in 2008. His competition at that position will come from Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene and Charles Haley.

It’s a strong class this year with Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith headlining the group.

Dent finished with 137 1/2 sacks in his career. He ranked third in NFL history when he retired behind only Reggie White and Bruce Smith. He was a four-time Pro Bowl performer.

The Hall announced the following semifinalists: Cliff Branch, receiver Tim Brown, receiver Cris Carter, coach Don Coryell, running back Roger Craig, running back Terrell Davis, center Dermontti Dawson, Dent, Doleman, Greene, guard Russ Grimm, punter Ray Guy, defensive end Charles Haley, cornerback Lester Hayes, linebacker Rickey Jackson, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, owner Art Modell, defensive tackle John Randle, receiver Andre Reed, receiver Jerry Rice, tight end Shannon Sharpe, running back Emmitt Smith, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, receiver Steve Tasker, and cornerback Aeneas Williams.

Mail ballots that reduce the list from 25 to 15 will be announced Jan. 7. Then, senior nominees Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little will be added to create a final group of 17 for consideration on Feb. 6 from the Super Bowl in South Florida.

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