Each is eligible for the first time.
Rice, the league's all-time leading receiver, played 20 seasons with San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle, finishing with 197 touchdowns on 1,549 receptions for 22,895 yards.
Brown, a wide receiver/kick returner for the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and the 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, played 17 seasons with 100 touchdowns on 1,094 catches for 14,934 yards.
Smith, a premier running back in 13-of-15 seasons with Dallas and the NFL's all-time leading rusher, scored 164 touchdowns on 4,409 carries for 18,355 yards.
They were joined by receivers Cris Carter and Andre Reed; tight end Shannon Sharpe; offensive linemen Dermonti Dawson and Russ Grimm; and defensive linemen Richard Dent, John Randle and Cortez Kennedy.
The senior nominees were cornerback Dick LeBeau and running back Floyd Little.
LeBeau started 171 straight games, an NFL record for his position.