Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.

Former players from Auburn, Alabama A&M named semifinalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • Updated
  • 0
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Three former NFL players with ties to Alabama have now been named as semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2023. 

Willie Anderson, already a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, attended Vigor High in Prichard and played college football at Auburn before becoming an offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1996. He played with the Bengals until 2007, then played the 2008 season with the Baltimore Ravens. 

Anderson retired after the 2008 season. He was later made a Bengals Ring of Honor member and remains the only right tackle in the past 40 years to be named to three straight All-Pro teams, according to the Bengals.

This is Anderson's third time being named as a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Robert Mathis was raised in Atlanta but chose Alabama A&M University for his college football years. After being drafted to the Indianapolis Colts in 2003, he played the next 14 years as a defensive end and linebacker with the team before taking a position as the Colts' assistant defensive coach.

Mathis is currently the NFL's all-time leader in forced fumbles and strip-sacks, and the Colts list him as the franchise record-holder for most career sacks at 123. This is Mathis' second time being named as a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

DeMarcus Ware, an Auburn native who played college football at Troy, rounds out the list of semifinalists with Alabama connections. Ware was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005 and played as a linebacker for nine seasons before joining the Denver Broncos.

Ware signed a one-day contract with Dallas after the 2016 season so he could retire from the NFL as a Cowboy. He currently holds the team record for most career sacks. 

This is his second time being named as a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Anderson, Mathis and Ware are three of 28 modern-era player semifinalists announced Tuesday by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The list, which started with 129 nominees, will be reduced to 15 finalists before the final voting process for the Class of 2023.

The Class of 2023 will be announced live ahead of the Super Bowl next year. 

Find the complete list of semifinalists here.

Have a news tip, question or correction? Email us at

Recommended for you