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Bengals legend Willie Anderson among Hall of Fame finalists for third straight year

One of the Bengals' best players in franchise history may finally get the recognition he deserves.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Allsport/Getty Images

For a long time, Cincinnati Bengals fans have fought to get more recognition for their franchise greats. The player on the docket now is former right tackle Willie Anderson who was one of the best right tackles in NFL history.

Anderson has made it to the list of finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Modern Era balloting. This is his third straight season reaching this point of the voting.

Anderson was before his time as most front offices focused on right tackles being more run-oriented since pass rushers weren’t abundant enough to test the right tackle. However, during Anderson’s career teams shifted to having pass rushers move around or get two pass rushers so they could get in the quarterback’s face rather than just his blindside.

At the tail end of his career, Pro Football Focus started popping up as a more popular analytic measurement for trying to show how good an offensive lineman was. He is still one of the top-rated players among right tackles that they have charted.

Anderson spent 12 seasons with the Bengals and finished his career with one season as a Raven in 2008. He was a first-team all-pro for three straight seasons between 2004 and 2006. He started 184 career games during his career.

Here is a list of the 15 finalists:

  • CB Eric Allen – 1988-1994 Eagles, 1995-97 Saints, 1998-2001 Raiders
  • DE Jared Allen – 2004-07 Chiefs, 2008-2013 Vikings, 2014-15 Bears, 2015 Panthers
  • RT Willie Anderson – 1996-2007 Bengals, 2008 Ravens
  • G Jahri Evans – 2006-2016 Saints, 2017 Packers
  • DE Dwight Freeney – 2002-2012 Colts, 2013-14 Chargers, 2015 Cardinals, 2016 Falcons, 2017 Seahawks, 2017 Lions
  • TE Antonio Gates – 2003-2018 Chargers
  • S Rodney Harrison _ 1994-2002 Chargers, 2003-08 Patriots
  • P-KR Devin Hester _ 2006-2013 Bears, 2014-15 Falcons, 2016 Ravens
  • WR Torry Holt _ 1999-2008 Rams, 2009 Jaguars
  • WR Andre Johnson, 2003-2014 Texans, 2015 Colts, 2016 Titans
  • DE Julius Peppers, 2002-09, 2017-18 Panthers, 2010-13 Bears, 2014-16 Packers
  • RB Fred Taylor _ 1998-2008 Jaguars, 2009-2010 Patriots
  • WR Reggie Wayne _ 2001-2014 Colts
  • LB Patrick Willis, 2007-2014 49ers
  • S Darren Woodson, 1992-2003 Cowboys