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Manning, Woodson, Matthews among 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists

Five-time MVP Peyton Manning (pictured) and former teammate Reggie Wayne are among the finalists for the 2021 class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. File Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/UPI
Five-time MVP Peyton Manning (pictured) and former teammate Reggie Wayne are among the finalists for the 2021 class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. File Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews are among the 15 finalists who in February will be presented to the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee for induction.

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.

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"I'm just enjoying the moment," Woodson told NFL Network. "You start to relive some of those moments on the football field.

"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."

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Manning and his former teammate Reggie Wayne join Torry Holt, Calvin Johnson, Tony Boselli and Alan Faneca as the six offensive players to make the cut as finalists.

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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.

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