INDIANAPOLIS – One is back for another shot while the other is looking for his first shot.
Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis, a pair of Indianapolis Colts’ icons, made the cut to 26 modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022.
Wayne, one of the franchise’s most prolific receivers, has reached the Final 15 in each of his first two years of eligibility. Mathis, the Colts’ career sack leader, is in his first year of eligibility.
“I need votes,’’ Mathis said with a laugh. “I can’t control that at all. I’m honored to be considered, to be among the main guys.’’
Mathis will be added to the Colts’ Ring of Honor Sunday at halftime of their meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“Humbled,’’ he said.
But Mathis believes his 14-year career merits an even higher honor: a bronze bust in Canton, Ohio.
“I feel I do (belong),’’ he said. “The main thing is if you have a record that’s notable, I feel like you’ve got a seat at the table.’’
Along with holding the Colts’ sack record with 123, including a team-record 19.5 in 2013, Mathis holds the NFL record with 54 forced fumbles.
Wayne, meanwhile, trails only Marvin Harrison in the Colts’ career receiving stats with 1,070 receptions, 14,345 yards and 82 touchdowns. Harrison is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016.
Wayne ranks 10th all-time in both receptions and yards, and also remains one of the league’s most prolific wideouts in the postseason: 3rd in receptions (93) and 6th in yards (1,254).
The Hall of Fame process has taken on a decidedly Colts flavor in recent years.
Peyton Manning (Class of 2021) and Edgerrin James (Class of 2020) were inducted in August. They were preceded by Harrison, coach Tony Dungy (2016), president/general manager Bill Polian (2015) and running backs Marshall Faulk (2011) and Eric Dickerson (1999).
Next year, defensive end Dwight Freeney will be eligible for consideration.
The list of 26 semifinalists will be trimmed to 15 finalists before the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee – I am a member – meets and determines the Class of 2022.
The 26 semifinalists:
- WR Reggie Wayne
- DE Robert Mathis
- CB Eric Allen
- DE Jared Allen
- OT Willie Anderson
- CB-S Ronde Barber
- WR Anquan Boldin
- OT Tony Boselli
- S LeRoy Butler
- RB Eddie George
- KR/WR Devin Hester
- WR Torry Holt
- WR Andre Johnson
- LB Sam Mills
- DE-DT Richard Seymour
- WR Steve Smith
- WR-ST Steve Tasker
- RB Fred Taylor
- LB Zach Thomas
- WR Hines Ward
- DE DeMarcus Ware
- RB Ricky Watters
- DT Vince Wilfork
- LB Patrick Willis
- S Darren Woodson
- DT Bryant Young
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.