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January 07, 2016

FORMER BRONCOS S STEVE ATWATER, RB TERRELL DAVIS & S JOHN LYNCH NAMED FINALISTS FOR PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2016

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Former Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater, running back Terrell Davis and safety John Lynch were named among the 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016, it was announced on Thursday.

All three players will be considered for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame when the Hall’s 46-member selection committee meets in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 6—the eve of Super Bowl 50.

The Broncos currently have four players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: quarterback John Elway (2004), tackle Gary Zimmerman (2008), running back Floyd Little (2010) and tight end Shannon Sharpe (2011).

Other players with ties to Denver who are also enshrined include cornerback Willie Brown (1984), running back Tony Dorsett (1994), General Manager Fred Gehrke (1972), defensive tackle Stan Jones (1991) and running back Doak Walker (1986).

BRONCOS PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME FINALIST CAPSULES
 
SAFETY STEVE ATWATER (first-time finalist: Class of 2016)

Regarded as one of the toughest and hardest-hitting safeties in league history, Atwater played the first 10 seasons of his 11-year career with the Broncos after being selected by the club in the first round (20th overall) of the 1989 NFL Draft from the University of Arkansas.

Atwater was voted to a franchise record-tying seven consecutive Pro Bowls from 1990-96, and his eight career Pro Bowl selections are the second most by a player in Broncos history.

A member of the 1990s NFL All-Decade Team as chosen by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, Atwater was named an All-Pro selection three times (first-team – 1991-92; second-team 1996) by the Associated Press.

In 167 career regular-season games (166 starts), Atwater totaled 1,356 tackles (854 solo), 24 interceptions (408 yds.) and five sacks (34 yds.). He also started 11 postseason games for the Broncos—the second most in team history—and contributed 37 tackles (26 solo), one interception and one sack.

He played in three Super Bowls and four conference championship games in his career while helping the Broncos win the third-most total games (109) in the NFL during his 10 seasons with the franchise.

Atwater’s play against Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII, a game in which he totaled six tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and two pass breakups, was instrumental in Denver winning its first-ever World Championship. He followed that up by helping the Broncos win their second of back-to-back Super Bowls in 1998 before finishing his career with the New York Jets in 1999.

A two-time All-American and three-time All-Southwest Conference selection at Arkansas, Atwater was named a consensus All-Rookie selection and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by Football Digest following his initial 1989 season in which the Broncos advanced to Super Bowl XXIV.
 
RUNNING BACK TERRELL DAVIS (second-time finalist: Classes of 2015-16)

The Denver Broncos’ all-time leading rusher, Davis spent his entire eight-year career with Denver after being selected by the club in the sixth round (196th overall) of the 1995 NFL?Draft from the University of Georgia.

He rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first four seasons, including the 1998 campaign in which he totaled the fourth-most rushing yards (2,008) in a season in NFL history to earn league MVP honors. That year, he also set a club record with 21 rushing scores.

The three-time Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro selection (1996-98) finished his career with a franchise-record 7,607 rushing yards and 60 rushing touchdowns on 1,655 carries (4.6 avg.) in 78 regular-season games (77 starts) as a key member of the Broncos’ back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams (1997-98).

His career 101.7-yard rushing average in all games played (incl. postseason) trails only Pro?Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown. Davis owns three of the top-five single-season rushing outputs in Broncos annals as well as the club’s single-season scoring record by a non-kicker (138 pts., 1998).

In the postseason,?Davis was equally as impressive, totaling at least 100 rushing yards in seven of his eight career playoff appearances, including his 157-yard, three-rushing touchdown performance against Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII to earn game MVP honors. He averaged an?NFL-record (min. 5 games) 142.5 rushing yards per game in the postseason for his career, totaling a club-record 1,140 rushing yards on 204 carries (5.6 avg.) with 12 touchdowns.

Davis, who played his first collegiate season at Long Beach?State before transferring to Georgia, ranks first in Broncos history in career 100-yard rushing games (41), first in rushing touchdowns (60), second in overall touchdowns (65) and second in yards from scrimmage (8,887).
 
SAFETY JOHN LYNCH (third-time finalist: Classes of 2014-16)

Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowler and a four-time Associated Press All-Pro selection, played 15 NFL seasons, including his final four years (2004-07) with the Broncos.

In 224 career regular-season games (191 starts), he totaled 1,227 tackles (789 solo), 13 sacks (109 yds.), 26 interceptions (204 yds.), 100 passes defensed, 16 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries. He added 71 tackles (41 solo), two interceptions (7 yds.) and 11 passes defensed in 12 career postseasons starts.

He spent the first 11 years of his NFL career with Tampa Bay before joining the Broncos as a free agent in 2004, concluding his Buccaneers career ranked third on the their all-time tackles list (973), tied for fourth in interceptions (23) and second in games played (164).

Lynch served as a key leader of the 2002 Buccaneers squad, helping the club to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. He also helped Denver reach the AFC Championship Game in 2005, marking his third career conference championship game appearance.

Named to the Pro Bowl following each of his four seasons in Denver, Lynch saw action in 60 regular-season games (59 starts) for the Broncos and totaled 304 tackles (215 solo), seven sacks (69 yds.), three interceptions (4 yds.), 26 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

He was the recipient of both the Bart Starr Award and the Byron “Whizzer” White Award in 2006 recognizing his off-the-field efforts in the community, including his work through the John Lynch Foundation.

Selected by Tampa Bay in the third round (82nd overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft from Stanford University, Lynch was born on Sept. 25, 1971, in Hinsdale, Ill.  

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