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Terrell Owens, Roger Craig named Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists

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The Pro Football of Fame announced 25 semifinalists, and the list includes two notable 49ers, and two brief 49ers. Terrell Owens and Roger Craig made the cut, as did Isaac Bruce and Kevin Greene. Ricky Watters and Bryant Young did not make the cut.  Eddie DeBartolo is not included with this group, as he was moved straight to the finalist stage as a contributor under a recent rule change.

One NFL Network analyst, Elliott Harrison, ranked out the 25 players and coaches, breaking them up into three groups: "Missing the cut", "Finalists, but years away from a bronze bust", and "the ten best candidates". He listed Craig in the first group, Bruce in the second group, and TO in the third group. In that latter group, Brett Favre and Tony Dungy topped the list. TO and Marvin Harrison were tied for third. The author had this to say:

Tough to differentiate between Harrison and Terrell Owens. The case for Harrison revolves around consistent greatness. For eight straight seasons, he posted at least 1,100 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches. Only Jerry Rice has managed that kind of sustained pace. Harrison also has a Super Bowl ring, something Owens can't claim.

Owens might not own a Lombardi Trophy like Harrison, but he could dominate a game. The fact is, these players are not far apart. T.O. ranks second all time in receiving yards with 15,934; Harrison is seventh with 14,580. T.O. ranks third in receiving touchdowns with 153; Harrison is fifth with 128. T.O. ranks sixth in receptions with 1,078; Harrison is third with 1,102. Owens accomplished all this with flair, while Harrison was quiet and steady. Both belong in Canton, regardless of the rising stats of today's WRs.

The changes in rules make it a little more difficult to assess wide receivers for Hall of Fame candidacy. That being said, TO and Harrison dominated the game during their playing time. You can compare them to their peers, and they were among the best.

The next step is the cut down to 10 finalists. That will likely happen in early January, and then the final vote will be the weekend of the Super Bowl.