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2 former Packers named finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Former Green Bay pass-rusher Julius Peppers is one of two first-year finalists for the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced their 15 modern-era finalists for the 2024 class. This list of 15 names will be worked down to five modern-era players who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio next summer. According to a tweet from the Hall of Fame, the 2024 class will be announced during the league’s awards show — NFL Honors — on February 8th.

Among the 15 modern-era finalists are two former Green Bay Packers: pass-rusher Julius Peppers and guard Jahri Evans. Peppers was signed as a free agency by the team in 2014 and started 43 games for the green and gold — recording 25 sacks from 2014 to 2016. Evans only spent one year in Green Bay after playing for most of his career with the New Orleans Saints.

Below are the bios that the Hall of Fame wrote up for these two former Packers:

Julius Peppers

Dominant defensive end who finished career fourth on all-time sacks list with 159.5 … Only player in NFL history with at least 100 sacks and 10 or more interceptions … Second all-time with 52 career forced fumbles … At the time of retirement, ranked sixth all-time among defensive players with 266 games played … Carolina Panthers franchise leader in sacks (97), forced fumbles (34) and blocked field goals (eight) … One of four players to record 10 seasons with 10-plus sacks, other three are Hall of Famers … Named 2002 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year by AP and PFWA … Led league with 18 tackles for loss in 2006 … Totaled 719 tackles, 175 tackles for loss, 186 quarterback hits … Voted to nine Pro Bowls … Three time first-team All-Pro, three times on second team … Member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of both the 2000s and 2010s.

Jahri Evans

Fourth-round pick of the New Orleans Saints, 108th selection overall, in the 2006 NFL Draft after playing collegiately at Division II Bloomsburg (Pa.) University … Durable guard who played 183 career regular-season games – all starts – over 12 seasons … Stepped into Saints lineup immediately, helping team to NFC South Division title and earning a spot on PFWA’s All-Rookie Team in 2006 … Saints led NFL in passing yards six times during his 11 seasons in New Orleans and total offense six times … Selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls (for 2009-2014 seasons) and was a four-time AP first-team All-Pro (2009-2012 seasons) … Member of Super Bowl XLIV-winning Saints team … Unanimous selection to Saints Hall of Fame in 2021 … Named to the Saints’ 50th Anniversary Team in 2016 and the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s.

It’s notable that Peppers is in his first year of eligibility and already has been named a Hall of Fame finalist. For perspective, only one other player — tight end Antonio Gates — can say that among the 15 finalists. Evans is in his second year of Hall of Fame eligibility but is also a first-time finalist.

Below is the full list of 15 finalists:

  • CB Eric Allen
  • DE Jared Allen
  • OT Willie Anderson
  • OG Jahri Evans
  • DE/OLB Dwight Freeney
  • TE Antonio Gates
  • S Rodney Harrison
  • PR/KR/WR Devin Hester
  • WR Torry Holt
  • WR Andre Johnson
  • DE Julius Peppers
  • RB Fred Taylor
  • WR Reggie Wayne
  • LB Patrick Willis
  • S Darren Woodson

Which five would you let in for the 2024 class? Drop a list down in the comment section.

Personally, I would put in Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, Antonio Gates and Julius Peppers. That final spot comes down to either Willie Anderson, who has waited far too long for his opportunity, or a receiver — because of the logjam at the position — for me. I can see the argument for Devin Hester since he is probably the best punt returner since Gale Sayers, but kick returns have been more impactful throughout NFL history than punt returns and many “more valuable” kick returners have been shown the door by the Hall of Fame.