The 2021 modern-era player finalists were announced Tuesday on NFL Network. Jared Allen, Ronde Barber, LeRoy Butler, John Lynch, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour, Zach Thomas, Woodson and Matthews are the nine defensive players up for induction.
"It's not lost on me to be here in this moment and to be a Hall of Fame finalist in [my] first year. You really had to make an impact on the game to be at this point. I'm excited to be in this moment and I'm just going to enjoy it."
The committee named 130 nominees in September before that list was reduced to 25 semifinalists in November. Three senior finalists -- Drew Pearson, contributor Bill Nunn and coach Tom Flores -- also will be up for induction. Between four and eight new members will be selected.
The Hall of Fame class will be revealed Feb. 6 at NFL Honors. The two-hour broadcast for the event airs at 9 p.m. EST on CBS. The class will be enshrined Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.