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Deion, star RBs Hall finalists

CANTON, Ohio — Cornerback Deion Sanders and running backs Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis and Marshall Faulk were among 15 finalists announced Sunday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2011.

Those three are among the NFL's top 10 rushers, and are eligible for the first time. Sanders, a former Florida State star, and offensive tackle Willie Roaf also are eligible for the first time.

The other finalists: receivers Tim Brown, Andre Reed and Cris Carter; center Dermontti Dawson; defensive ends Richard Dent, Charles Haley and Chris Doleman; defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy; tight end Shannon Sharpe, plus NFL filmmaker Ed Sabol. Those 15 plus senior nominees Chris Hanburger and Les Richter will be considered for induction Feb. 5. The enshrinement is in August.

Martin is fourth in league history with 14,101 yards rushing; Bettis sits fifth with 13,662 and Faulk is 10th with 12,279.

Sanders scored nine times on interceptions, played offense at times, and is a former major-league baseball player.

ALL-PRO A FREE AGENT: The final year in Nnamdi Asomugha's record contract with the Raiders is no longer in force because the Pro Bowl cornerback didn't reach certain incentives. Asomugha signed a $45.3 million, three-year deal in February 2009 that made him the highest paid defensive back ever. His deal was voided because he didn't participate in more plays in 2010 than in the previous season, nor did he improve his interception, fumble recovery or sack totals.

BRONCOS: John Fox, whose contract wasn't renewed as Carolina's coach, is expected to interview today for Denver's position. The team's search included interviews with interim coach Eric Studesville and Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Interviews with offensive coordinators Dirk Koetter of Jacksonville and Rick Dennison of Houston are expected this week.

COWBOYS: reported that the team won't retain assistant Ray Sherman, who had interviewed for the head coaching job that went to Jason Garrett.

Deion, star RBs Hall finalists 01/09/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 9, 2011 9:02pm]
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