ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Four former Denver Broncos players and one former coach are among the 103 preliminary nominees for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
The list almost reads as a who's who of Broncos legends.
Safety Steve Atwater, running back Terrell Davis, wide receiver Rod Smith, linebacker Karl Mecklenburg and head coach Dan Reeves are up for election into the hall.
For Smith, this is the first year he is eligible to be elected to the Hall of Fame, as players are required to be retired for five consecutive seasons in order to be up for consideration.
The Broncos roots go deep with this group. Out of the combined 44 years of NFL service between the four players, 43 of them were spent with the Denver Broncos organization. Only Steve Atwater, who played for the New York Jets in his final season, played for a different team.
But that's not to forget Reeves. The former head coach was at the helm of the Broncos for 12 years from 1981-92, and led them to three Super Bowls in four years.
These 103 players will be whittled down to 25 semifinalists by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee in mid-November. Davis - and Shannon Sharpe -- were among the semifinalists last year.
From there, the committee will choose 15 modern-era finalists in early January. Those 15 players will combine with the two senior nominees -- former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Jack Butler and former Detroit Lions guard Dick Stanfel, who were selected this last month by the Hall of Fame's Senior Selection Committee -- to make up the finalists for the Class of 2012.
The final vote will be taken on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, the day before Super Bowl XLVI, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee's annual meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The election results will be announced that evening on NFL Network, live from the Super Bowl Media Center.
While there's no set requirement for the amount of people elected to the Hall of Fame in a given year, usually four to seven members make it each year based on the way the selection process by-laws are constructed.
The Broncos have had two former players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the last two years. Floyd Little was part of the Class of 2010 while Sharpe was in the Class of 2011.
Click here for a list of all preliminary nominees, which include first-year eligible candidates such as quarterback Drew Bledsoe, running back Tiki Barber, wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, guard Will Shields and coaches Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells, and Marty Schottenheimer.