Davis, Mecklenburg, Atwater, Lynch again HOF semifinalists

For the second consecutive year, former Broncos stars Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, Karl Mecklenburg, and John Lynch were named as HOF semifinalists.

None of the four moved on to the final round last year.

In all, 19 players and six coaches/execs made the initial cutdown, and 15 of those 25 will join senior nominees Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey as finalists on January 8.

Inductees will be named Febuary 1, on the eve of SB 48.

Davis has reached the semifinal round all eight years that he's been eligible, but he's not yet been a finalist. TD learned of his inclusion Wednesday night on NFLN and discussed his own candidacy with HOFer Rod Woodson, who has been a vocal supporter for Davis's strong case.

The MVP of SB 32 and the league in 1998, and one of just seven men to crack the 2,000-yard rushing mark in a single season, TD's career was shortened by knee injuries.

But he is arguably the greatest postseason runner ever, was the best player on two title-winning teams (unlike any other semifinalist), and had one of the most dominant three-year stretches by any running back in NFL history. Fellow candidates Roger Craig and Jerome Bettis cannot touch any of these claims, although Bettis seems on his path to eventual enshrinement based upon his having been a finalist for multiple years.

For both Atwater and Mecklenburg, it's their third straight year as semifinalists, while Lynch has now been one in each of his two years of eligibility.

Unfortunately, legendary linebacker Randy Gradishar is no longer eligible for induction through the traditional voting process, and must travel the senior committee route if he's ever to reach Canton.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM