Back in September, the NFL passed along the names of 108 former NFL players who were eligible for 2018 Hall of Fame induction. Today, the league announced they’ve whittled that number down to 27 semifinalists. Among them, three former St. Louis Rams’ players: Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, and Leslie O’Neal.
Isaac Bruce, WR - 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 - 2015-18)
Torry Holt, WR - 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 2015-18)
Leslie O'Neal, DE - 1986, 1988-1995 San Diego Chargers, 1996-1997 St. Louis Rams, 1998-1999 Kansas City Chiefs | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 - 2018)
Two names, you might have noticed, are instantly recognizable. The third, O’Neal, might take you back a bit as a fan, assuming you’ve been following (or alive) for the past two decades.
Leslie O’Neal had a short stint in St. Louis, following a very solid nine years in San Diego — six of which earned him Pro Bowl honors. O’Neal has been previously eligible for induction, but this marks his first year as a semifinalist.
More recognizable are the names of the wide receivers from the Greatest Show on Turf era. Both Bruce and Holt are eligible for their fourth consecutive year, and looking to join fellow GSOT offensive greats Marshall Faulk (2011), Orlando Pace (2016), and Kurt Warner (2017).
Per usual, it will be no easy task - despite the significance of their careers - due to the quality/depth of the 2018 semifinalists. Randy Moss, a surefire first ballot player, is now eligible. Terrell Owens, a player whose career stats are certainly worthy of induction, will give it a go for the third consecutive year. And longtime Steeler Hines Ward will also look to join for the second straight year.
Stay tuned. The 2018 Hall of Fame class will be announced on February 3rd - one day prior to the Super Bowl - at 9pm ET during the two hour “NFL Honors” special on NBC.