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Patrick Willis named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the third time

Hopefully, the third time is a charm for Willis

New York Jets v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis was named one of 15 modern-finalists for the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class Wednesday evening. This will be the third time that Willis has made the final round, and the second time in as many years.

A pair of other former Niners, running back Ricky Watters and wide receiver Anquan Boldin, did not make the most recent cut.

There’s still another cut to come in the coming weeks, as the 15 finalists will be trimmed to seven. Then, on February 8, the official class of 2024 will be revealed as part of the NFL Honors telecast.

The only argument against Willis is longevity. But it should matter how much of an impact you had during your career and how much of an impact you were able to make. In the case of Willis, he played eight years and made the Pro Bowl seven times. He changed how the position is played.

Whether it was sacking the quarterback, making tackles for loss, or getting in the throwing lanes that led to eight interceptions, Willis was comfortably the best player at his position during the 2010s.