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Willie Anderson Makes Fourth Straight Hall of Fame Semifinals


Bengals Ring of Honor member Willie Anderson has made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinals for the fourth straight year on a list of 25 that has only one other offensive lineman.

Anderson, who Pro Football Focus graded the best run protector of the last two decades, is looking to gain the finals for the third straight year when the list is cut to 15 next month. The final vote is held in a mid-January meeting of the board of selectors, where has the Cincinnati vote.

The other offensive lineman in the semifinals is 11-year Saints guard Jahri Evans. Evans, who played his final season in Green Bay in 2017, is a four-time All-Pro who made the Hall of Fame's all-decade 2010s teams.

First-year eligibles are tight end Antonio Gates and defensive end Julius Peppers. Peppers, who has the fourth most sacks of all-time with 159.5, is also on Anderson's list. He's one of the nine top 12 sackers Anderson faced and didn't allow one.

The other semifinalist on that list is Jared Allen at No. 12 with 136. The other semifinalist who played with the Bengals is linebacker James Harrison, a member of the 2013 AFC North champs.

The voters cut from a list of 173 that included Bengals all-time leading rusher Corey Dillon, all-time leading receiver Chad Johnson, 15-year NFL linebacker Takeo Spikes, and 2001 first-round draft pick Justin Smith.

Anderson, the 10th pick in the 1996 draft, played 12 seasons with the Bengals before finishing with the Ravens in 2008.

Also making the finals list are the three senior nominees Randy Gradishar, Steve McMichael, and Art Powell, as well as long-time Lions head coach Buddy Parker.

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