Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor had been a semifinalist in the Pro Football Hall of Fame nomination process before. However, he had never reached the final stage of voting... until now. He's finally made the cut and is one of 15 players who have a shot at being enshrined as part of the HOF's 2024 class.
The HOF committee announced the 15 finalists for induction Wednesday. Besides Taylor, Antonio Gates (tight end), Julius Peppers (defensive end), Jahri Evans (offensive guard), Dwight Freeney (defensive end), Devin Hester (return specialist), Andre Johnson (wide receiver), Jared Allen, (defensive end), Eric Allen (cornerback), Willie Anderson (offensive tackle), Torry Holt (wide receiver), Rodney Harrison (defensive end), Reggie Wayne (wide receiver), Patrick Willis (linebacker), and Darren Woodson (safety) made the next round of voting.
Fred Taylor isn't the only player who's a first-time finalist. Allen, Evan, Gates, Harrison, and Peppers, also made the cut for the first time ever. Something noteworthy is that Taylor is the only running back who advanced to the finalist stage this year. On the other hand, there's a logjam at wide receiver and defensive end. This could boost Taylor's chances of, once and for all, getting a gold jacket.
Also of note is that Torry Holt was named a finalist. Even though he spent most of his career with the Los Angeles (then St. Louis) Rams and was known as a key cog in The Greatest Show on Turf, he played his last NFL season in Jacksonville.
If Holt were to get enshrined, he would most likely do it as a Ram but it's worth noting he also suited up for the Jaguars, even if it's a footnote in his career. Here's the Pro Football Hall of Fame official announcement on Twitter:
Jaguars players take to social media to congratulate Fred Taylor for being a HOF finalist
Currently, Tony Boselli is the only Jaguar whose bust is in Canton. Fred Taylor could join him soon, so current and former Jaguars wasted no time congratulating "Fragile Fred" for becoming a finalist. Trevor Lawrence took to Twitter after catching wind of the news.
Fellow running back Travis Etienne, who paid tribute to Taylor in Week 2 of the 2023 season by wearing his jersey, also congratulated Taylor.
Former teammate Leon Searcy, who opened running lanes for him, vouched for Taylor, "Freddy T among the greats to get HOF recognition. Don't ask why, just watch the film. I truly believe he's one of the best to ever do it. Give him daylight and your left with a cloud of dust."
Of course, Tony Boselli couldn't miss the opportunity to congratulate Taylor and tell him that nobody deserves it more than him.
If Fred Taylor does get enshrined in the Hall of Fame, wide receiver Jimmy Smith will be the only Jaguar left that needs to be (and deserves to be ) inducted. It has taken a while, but the Jacksonville Jaguars and their legends are at last getting the recognition they deserve.