See snapshots from the careers of Karl Mecklenburg, Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, John Lynch and Ty Law.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – ** Four former Broncos have been announced among the 26 Modern-Era semifinalists who will be considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2015.
Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, John Lynch and Karl Mecklenburg are four of the semifinalists, and all have been semifinalists before.
Ty Law, who played for the Broncos in 2009, was also nominated.
The Hall of Fame's Selection Committee chose the semifinalists from a previously announced list of 113 nominees. Although Hall of Fame bylaws call for the selection of 25 semifinalists they also provide that the semifinalist list include all ties for the twenty-fifth position, as has occurred this year.
Davis has reached the semifinalist round for the ninth consecutive year, while Atwater and Mecklenburg received their third semifinalist nominations.
To be considered for election to the Hall, a nominated player or coach must not have participated as an active player or coach for five consecutive seasons.
The 15 finalists will be announced on Jan. 8, and final voting will occur at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee's annual meeting in Arizona on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, the day before Super Bowl XLIX. Those selected will be announced that evening.
The Broncos have four players in the Hall of Fame, with quarterback John Elway (2004), tackle Gary Zimmerman (2008), running back Floyd Little (2010) and tight end Shannon Sharpe (2011) all getting the call.
Other players with ties to Denver who are also enshrined include cornerback Willie Brown, Tony Dorsett, Fred Gehrke, Stan Jones and Doak Walker.
Davis is the Broncos' all-time leading rusher after spending his entire eight-year career with the team, from 1995-2002.
Selected by Denver in the sixth round (196th overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft from the University of Georgia, Davis rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first four seasons, including in 1998, when he totaled 2,008 rushing yards, the fourth most in NFL history and was a league MVP.
Atwater spent a brilliant 10-year career at safety with the Broncos, from 1989-98. He was voted to a franchise record-tying seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1990-96), and his eight career Pro Bowl selections are the second most by a player in Broncos history.
Lynch signed with the Broncos as a free agent in 2004 after playing 11 years in Tampa Bay and helping the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl in 2002. He made four Pro Bowls (2004-07) with Denver and was a key part in the Broncos' AFC Championship game appearance vs. Pittsburgh in 2006.
In all, Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowler.
Mecklenburg was considered one of the most outstanding defensive players in Denver history during his 12-year career, from 1983-94. He played at defensive end during his first season with the Broncos and converted to linebacker in 1984 and went on to start 141 career games, including all 16 games in a season five times.
Although there is no set number of enshrinees for any Hall of Fame Class, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's current ground rules stipulate that between four and eight new members will be selected each year. No more than five Modern-Era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six, seven, or eight can only be achieved if one or more of the Contributor and Seniors Finalists are elected.
The Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 will be officially enshrined Saturday, Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio as the main event of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Annual Enshrinement Festival Celebration.