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Tagliabue, Matthews headline Hall finalists

1/10/2007 - NFL

CANTON, Ohio -- Former NFL commissioner Paul
Tagliabue and durable offensive lineman Bruce Matthews headline
the list of 17 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Hall's Board of Selectors revealed the finalists for the
Class of 2007 on Wednesday.

A total of 111 former players, coaches and contributors who made
up the preliminary list of nominees were reduced to 25
semifinalists before the 17 finalists were announced.

Tagliabue, who is among the contributors on the preliminary
list, served as the NFL's commissioner from 1989-2006. His
reign was highlighted by record-setting television deals, labor
peace and a massive stadium building program.

Under Tagliabue's leadership, the NFL grew from 28 to 32 teams
and revised its divisional alignment and scheduling formula.
During this time, the NFL also expanded its international appeal
and presence with the creation of NFL Europe.

Matthews holds the NFL record for most games (296) and seasons
(19) played at any position. He spent his entire career with
the Tennessee Titans franchise, retiring after the 2001
campaign.

The other 13 modern-era finalists are running back Thurman
Thomas, wide receivers Michael Irvin, Art Monk and Andre Reed,
guards Russ Grimm and Bob Kuechenberg, tackle Gary Zimmerman,
defensive ends Fred Dean and Richard Dent, linebackers Derrick
Thomas and Andre Tippett, cornerback Roger Wehrli and punter Ray
Guy.

The Senior Committee nominees are guard Gene Hickerson and tight
end Charlie Sanders.

The Hall of Fame class will be elected on Feb. 3, the day
before Super Bowl XLI in Miami.

To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum of 80 percent
of the total votes by the panel of media members. The panel will
vote on Feb. 3, the day before the Super Bowl in Miami.

Enshrinement of the class of 2007 will take place on the weekend
of August 4-5.

Information from SportsTicker and The Associated Press was used in this report.