The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced their 129 modern era nominees for the upcoming class of 2023. Five former Cincinnati Bengals players were included in the list.
Willie Anderson, Corey Dillon, Chad Johnson, Justin Smith, James Harrison, and Takeo Spikes are all up for induction.
Anderson stands out as a finalist from 2022. Last year was the first time the All-Pro right tackle made it that far in the selection process, and his chances of making a repeat run should be high. He’ll be inducted into the Bengals’ Ring of Honor next Thursday night.
Dillon and Johnson each have strong cases as skill position players. Both are at the top of the franchise’s all-time leaderboards in rushing and receiving yards, respectively, and boast multiple Pro Bowls to boot. Johnson was also a two-time All-Pro, and Dillon won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots.
Smith and Spikes started their careers as Bengals, but each player went on to have more successful careers for different teams. Smith was a five-time Pro Bowler for the early 2010s San Francisco 49ers, while Spikes made his name known on the Buffalo Bills and a few other clubs.
Harrison spent one year with the Bengals but will largely be remembered for his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dillon’s ring and Johnson’s notoriety help their cases, but Anderson already being a finalist several years into his eligibility makes him the most likely to get in first. Here’s to hoping this is the year.