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LeRoy Butler named Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist for 3rd straight year

GREEN BAY, UNITED STATES: Green Bay Packer safety LeRoy Butler (L) celebrates with teammate defensive tackle Santana Dotson after sacking Tampa Bay Buccaneer quarterback Trent Dilfer (not shown) in the fourth quarter of the 27 October game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. The Packers won 13-7. AFP Photo by Vincent Laforet (Photo credit should read VINCENT LAFORET/AFP/Getty Images)

CANTON, Ohio — LeRoy Butler, who played safety for the Packers for 12 seasons, has been named among 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the third consecutive year. Butler was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXXI (31) in New Orleans in the 1996-97 season.

Safety Troy Polamalu, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and linebacker Patrick Willis are the first-year eligible players among the 25 semifinalists of the modern era for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Also on the list, which will be cut to 15 on Jan. 2, are previous finalists John Lynch, Steve Atwater, Tony Boselli, Steve Hutchinson, Isaac Bruce, Edgerrin James and Alan Faneca.

Five former players will be elected to the class of 2020 on Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl. They will be inducted into the Canton, Ohio, shrine in August.

The hall also will induct 10 senior candidates, three contributors and two coaches in a special centennial class in 2020.

There are 14 defensive players, 10 on offense, and one special-teamer, Steve Tasker, who also played wide receiver for Buffalo.

Four players make the semifinals for the first time: linebacker Carl Banks, running backs Fred Taylor and Ricky Watters, and defensive tackle Bryant Young. Every other semifinalist for 2020 has gotten this far before.

There are six defensive backs in the group: Butler, Polamalu, Lynch, Atwater, Ronde Barber and Darren Woodson.

Five receivers make the list: Wayne, Bruce, Torry Holt, Hines Ward, and Tasker. There also are five linebackers: Willis, Banks, Clay Matthews, Sam Mills and Zach Thomas.

Hutchinson, Faneca and Boselli are the offensive linemen. Taylor, Watters and James are the running backs. Defensive linemen are Young, Richard Seymour and Simeon Rice.

The semifinalists, in alphabetical order:

Steve Atwater, safety

Carl Banks, linebacker

Ronde Barber, cornerback/safety

Tony Boselli, tackle

Isaac Bruce, wide receiver

LeRoy Butler, safety

Alan Faneca, guard

Torry Holt, wide receiver

Steve Hutchinson, guard

Edgerrin James, running back

John Lynch, safety

Clay Matthews, linebacker

Sam Mills, linebacker

Troy Polamalu, safety

Simeon Rice, defensive end

Richard Seymour, defensive end/defensive tackle

Steve Tasker, wide receiver/special teamer

Fred Taylor, running back

Zach Thomas, linebacker

Hines Ward, wide receiver

Ricky Watters, running back

Reggie Wayne, wide receiver

Patrick Willis, linebacker

Darren Woodson, safety

Bryant Young, defensive tackle

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