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Bengals Franchise Right Tackle Willie Anderson Makes Pro Football Hall of Fame Finals For Third Straight Year


For the third straight year, Bengals Ring of Honor member Willie Anderson has reached the finals of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Modern Era balloting for the 2024 class.

Anderson, the first right tackle to be named to three straight All-Pro first teams in 30 years during his dozen seasons in Cincinnati, is one of 15 names revealed Wednesday night.

The list includes first-time eligibles Antonio Gates, the Chargers' undrafted Kent State tight end who went to eight straight Pro Bowls, and Julius Peppers, the Panther's dangerous pass rusher who is the only NFL player with at least 100 sacks and more than 10 interceptions.

The only other offensive lineman on the list is first-time finalist and four-time All-Pro guard Jahri Evans, best known for his 11 seasons with the Saints, in his second year of eligibility.

Only wide receivers Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne (five) and defensive end Jared Allen (four) have been to more finals than Anderson. Anderson, who retired after starting in the 2008 AFC Championship Game following his one season with the Ravens, is in his 11th year of Hall eligibility. Of the 15 finalists, only cornerback Eric Allen (18) and safety Darren Woodson (16) have been eligible longer. Safety Rodney Harrison is also 11 years eligible.

Anderson, 48, who runs his offensive line academy in Atlanta, was on the phone with a parent of a player when he got the word Wednesday night. He promptly thanked Who Dey Nation via social media.

"Thank you so much to all our fans who have kept my name alive these last 15 years of retirement," Anderson wrote. "Also others who are not Bengals fans who have kept this push to the finals for me last 3 years! I am truly appreciative of you. Wouldn't be at this point without you #Whodey!" 

Peppers, fourth on the all-time career sack list, is one of seven of the top eight career sackers Anderson blanked. He also didn't give up a sack to Jared Allen, 12th on the career sack list.

In the Pro Football Focus total grades, Anderson rates ahead of recent Hall of Fame linemen Orlando Pace, Steve Hutchinson, Alan Faneca, Will Shields, and Kevin Mawae. Anderson also compares favorably to the two most recent Hall tackles, Tony Boselli in 2022 and Joe Thomas last year.

"His blue (best) years, his position ranks, his longevity, he's a Hall-of-Famer. The answer is Willie Anderson is a Hall-of-Famer. His numbers match up to everybody else who is in," says Mike Giddings, head of the long-time NFL scouting service Pioneering Pro Scout, Inc. "Boselli's first five years are a dominant blue. Joe Thomas was a consistent player, but not as blue as Willie."

The 50-member selection committee, where holds the Cincinnati vote, meets next month to select the 2024 class, which usually consists of five Modern Era candidates, three Senior candidates, and a Contributor. The class is announced the week of the Super Bowl at NFL Honors. Induction is at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio during early August.


CB Eric Allen – 1988-1994 Eagles, 1995-97 Saints, 1998-2001 Raiders

DE Jared Allen  – 2004-07 Chiefs, 2008-2013 Vikings, 2014-15 Bears, 2015 Panthers

RT Willie Anderson – 1996-2007 Bengals, 2008 Ravens

G Jahri Evans – 2006-2016 Saints, 2017 Packers

DE Dwight Freeney  – 2002-2012 Colts, 2013-14 Chargers, 2015 Cardinals, 2016 Falcons, 2017 Seahawks, 2017 Lions

TE Antonio Gates – 2003-2018 Chargers

S Rodney Harrison _ 1994-2002 Chargers, 2003-08 Patriots

P-KR Devin Hester _ 2006-2013 Bears, 2014-15 Falcons, 2016 Ravens

WR Torry Holt _ 1999-2008 Rams, 2009 Jaguars

WR Andre Johnson, 2003-2014 Texans, 2015 Colts, 2016 Titans

DE Julius Peppers, 2002-09, 2017-18 Panthers, 2010-13 Bears, 2014-16 Packers

RB Fred Taylor _ 1998-2008 Jaguars, 2009-2010 Patriots

WR Reggie Wayne _ 2001-2014 Colts

LB Patrick Willis, 2007-2014 49ers

S Darren Woodson, 1992-2003 Cowboys