For the third straight year Bengals Ring of Honor member Willie Anderson is one of the semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame with his eye on a second straight trip to the finals.
In voting released by the Hall Tuesday, Anderson, the only right tackle in the last four decades named to three straight All-Pro teams, is one of 28 modern era semifinalists and three offensive linemen. He's joined by first-time Hall eligibles Jahri Evans, the long-time Saints guard, and Browns left tackle Joe Thomas.
The field is cut to the final 15 in balloting by the 49-member selection committee (Bengals.com has one of the votes) that runs from Tuesday through Dec. 13. The 2023 inductees are chosen from the finalists in a Jan. 17 Zoom meeting.
Already in the Hall finals is Bengals all-time interceptions leader Ken Riley, one of three senior candidates nominated for the finals earlier this year. Riley, who died in 2020 at age 72, has the fifth most interceptions in NFL history with 65 and is in the finals for the first time. The other senior finalists, who have to be retired at least 25 years, are long-time Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko and Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley.
Also already on the finals ballot in the Coach/Contributor category is former Cardinals and Chargers head coach Don Coryell. Between four to nine finalists earn induction. The candidates are voted on individually after their case is made before the committee with 39 yes votes (80 percent) needed for induction.
Anderson, 47, who spent 12 seasons with the Bengals before retiring in 2008 after one season with the Ravens and playing in a total of 195 games, made it to the finals last year in balloting that approved Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli. Boselli, the only other offensive lineman who made it that far, spent all seven seasons and 91 games with the Jaguars.
Long-time Steelers pass rusher James Harrison, another first-time eligible, spent the 2013 season with the AFC North champion Bengals. Other first timers in the semifinals are cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive end Dwight Freeney.
The last time two Bengals were in the finals was 1998 when inaugural Ring of Honor members Anthony Munoz and Ken Anderson made it. Munoz, the only long-time Bengal in the Hall, was a first ballot choice.