Julius Peppers and Antonio Gates headline finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 as field is whittled down to final 15 players
- Julius Peppers and Antonio Gates are on the ballot for the Class of '24 for the first time
- Patrick Willis, Torry Holt, Reggie Wayne and others will be ready for induction
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Former Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers and Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates will be first-time finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2024 in their first year on the ballot.
Gates and Peppers are the only rookies to make the 15-player cut. Wide receivers Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne have both been finalists five times and are in the pool again this year.
There are seven returning to the ballot as Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists, including Patrick Willis, Andre Johnson and Jared Allen.
Rodney Harrison, Fred Taylor and two others will appear as finalists for the first time after being semifinalists in previous years.
The fifteen finalists will be whittled down to ten and then to five for introduction early next year. The five remaining finalists need the approval of 80% of the voting panel to be admitted.
Julius Peppers played seventeen seasons in the NFL, spending most of his time with the Panthers
Antonio Gates spent his entire NFL career with the Chargers, in San Diego and Los Angeles
Peppers and Donovan McNabb are the only two athletes of all time to have appeared in an NCAA Final Four and a Super Bowl.
Peppers also had a 17-year NFL career with seven All-Pro honors and nine Pro Bowl selections. He played 10 seasons in two different stints with the Panthers.
Peppers finished his career with 159 1/2 sacks, the fourth most since they became an official statistic in 1982.
Gates' entire 16-year career was with the Chargers organization, where he was with the team when it moved from San Diego to Los Angeles.
Gates and Peppers are joined in the finalist pool of 15 players by Patrick Willis and a dozen others
Gates was also a dual college basketball and football player, helping Kent State to the Elite Eight in 2002.
Gates holds the Chargers' all-time records for receptions, yards and touchdowns.
Unlike Major League Baseball, there is no limit on how long after being eligible for induction a player must be committed to Canton, Ohio.