ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Wednesday night, four former Broncos found out that they're one step closer to Canton, Ohio.
Running back Terrell Davis, safety Steve Atwater, linebacker Karl Mecklenburg and safety John Lynch were among the 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014, announced Wednesday on NFL Network.
From here, the 25 semifinalists will be narrowed down to 15 finalists. That becomes 17 finalists when the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee are included. They were announced in August, and are punter Ray Guy and defensive end Claude Humphrey.
The finalists will be announced in a one-hour special on NFL Network on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 at 8 p.m. MT. The final Class of 2014 will be named on the eve of Super Bowl XLVIII -- Saturday, Feb. 1.
Below is a closer look at all four of the Broncos' semifinalists.
Davis spent his entire career with the Broncos, rushing for 7,607 yards and 60 touchdowns in addition to 1,280 receiving yards and five touchdowns through the air in his eight seasons.
The former sixth-round pick rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first four seasons, including his 2,008-yard campaign in 1998 that earned him league MVP honors.
That season, he also set a franchise record with 21 rushing touchdowns. The three-time Pro Bowler was a key offensive piece on the Broncos' back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams.
His 97.5-yard rushing average in regular-season games is the third-best in league history with a minimum of 75 games played, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Barry Sanders. He also totaled at least 100 rushing yards in seven of his eight career playoff appearances, including his 157-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, earning him game MVP honors.
In 10 years with the Broncos, Atwater racked up 1,301 tackles, 24 interceptions, five sacks and a defensive touchdown. He also played one final season with the New York Jets.
Known as one of the biggest hitters in the game, Atwater was voted to eight Pro Bowls in his career, including a franchise-record seven consecutive from 1990-96.
The former first-round pick was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by Football Digest in a season the Broncos earned a berth in Super Bowl XXIV. He was another key leader in the club's back-to-back wins in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII.
He ranks second only to John Elway in career postseason starts by a Bronco. He started all 14 of his playoff appearances, including the three Super Bowls and four AFC Championship Games.
Mecklenburg, a career Bronco, spent 12 years in the NFL. The former 12th-round pick went on to start 141 career games, a total that includes all 15 games in a season five different times.
He was voted into six Pro Bowls and was honored as the 1986 AFC Player of the Year by Football News. The linebacker helped the Broncos to seven postseason appearances, five division titles and three Super BOwl trips.
He finished his career with 1,145 tackles, 79 sacks and five interceptions. He is the only player in club history to record four sacks in a game twice in his career, part of his 11 multiple-sack games.
He notched at least 100 tackles in a season six times.
Unlike the other three semifinalists, Lynch spent the majority of his career with a different team -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But Lynch played in Denver in the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons before retiring prior to the start of the 2008 campaign.
In his career, the hard-hitting safety registered nine seasons in which he logged 90 more more tackles.
The third-round pick out of Stanford played 15 seasons, earning nine Pro Bowl berths. He snared 26 interceptions, notched 13 sacks, forced 16 fumbles and recovered nine more in his career.
He started at least 14 games in 11 separate seasons, including six in which he started all 16.
The semifinalists for @ProFootballHOF Class of 2014. #PFHOF14 pic.twitter.com/ND71Gr2uTa — NFL (@nfl) November 21, 2013