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Steve Smith Sr. among 28 Hall of Fame semifinalists

SteveSmith_HoF_Wide

CHARLOTTE — Former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. has again made the cut as a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist, in results announced Tuesday afternoon.

Smith was also a semifinalist last year in his first year of eligibility but did not advance to the final 15.

Tuesday's list included 28 players (it's generally 25, but this year there was a tie for the final spots), and of that group, eight were receivers or return men.

Last year, Devin Hester (one of the top returners in the history of the game) made the final 15, along with wideouts Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, and Torry Holt.

That group also advanced this year, along with Smith, Anquan Boldin, Henry Ellard, and Hines Ward.

Of those eight semifinalist receivers, Smith leads the group with 14,731 all-time receiving yards. He's eighth on the league's all-time list in that category, and of the seven players ahead of him, six are already in the Hall of Fame, and the other one (Larry Fitzgerald), is not eligible yet.

Smith is 12th on the league's all-time receptions list with 1,031. Boldin is ninth on that list (1,076), Wayne 10th (1,070), and Johnson 11th (1,062).

Boldin, Wayne, and Holt also had the advantage of playing with Hall of Fame quarterbacks (Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, and Warner, respectively), while Smith spent the bulk of his career with a group of quarterbacks topped by Jake Delhomme.

The Hall of Fame's selection committee will vote again to cut the list to 15 in the next few weeks, and an announcement in mid-December, and will meet in January to debate the 15 finalists.

The semifinalist list announced Tuesday also includes defensive end Jared Allen, who played his final season with the Panthers in 2015.

Several Panthers will be on the ballot in the next few years, with Julius Peppers eligible for the first time in 2024 and Luke Kuechly in 2025.

Panthers linebacker and assistant coach Sam Mills was elected to the Hall of Fame and enshrined earlier this year (our archive of all the Mills content from his election, enshrinement weekend, and the team's Keep Pounding Day celebration can be found here).

CLASS OF 2023 HALL OF FAME SEMIFINALISTS

Eric Allen

Jared Allen

Willie Anderson

Ronde Barber

Anquan Boldin

Henry Ellard

Jahri Evans

London Fletcher

Dwight Freeney

James Harrison

Rodney Harrison

Devin Hester

Torry Holt

Andre Johnson

Albert Lewis

Robert Mathis

Darrelle Revis

Steve Smith Sr.

Fred Taylor

Joe Thomas

Zach Thomas

Hines Ward

DeMarcus Ware

Ricky Watters

Reggie Wayne

Vince Wilfork

Patrick Willis

Darren Woodson

A look at some of the best pictures of Steve Smith Sr. during his career with the Panthers.

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