Warrick Dunn among list of first-year eligible players for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Associated Press file photo by JOHN BAZEMOREFormer Catholic High running back Warrick Dunn spent 12 years in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Associated Press file photo by JOHN BAZEMOREFormer Catholic High running back Warrick Dunn spent 12 years in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Thursday its list of first-year eligibles for players and coaches who have been retired for five seasons.

The 16-man list includes running back Warrick Dunn, a Baton Rouge native who played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, and cornerback Patrick Surtain, a New Orleans native who played for the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

A former Catholic High star, Dunn carved out a solid 12-year career with the Bucs and Falcons. He rushed for 10,967 yards, which ranks 19th on the all-time list, and had 49 rushing touchdowns.

Dunn also caught 510 passes for 4,339 yards and 15 TDs, giving him 15,306 total yards from scrimmage and 64 TDs for his career.

Surtain, a Karr graduate, played 11 seasons for the Dolphins and Chiefs. He had 37 interceptions, 71/2 sacks and eight fumble recoveries in starting 131 of 163 games.

Dunn and Surtain join several players with Louisiana ties on the full list of 126 nominees that will be considered: defensive backs Aeneas Williams (Southern), Albert Lewis (Grambling), Everson Walls (Grambling) and Eric Allen (Saints); linebacker Sam Mills (Saints); kicker Morten Andersen (Saints); and kick returner Brian Mitchell (UL-Lafayette).

Williams has been a finalist for the past two years, but did not receive the votes needed to be enshrined in the Canton, Ohio, hall.

Former LSU coach Bill Arnsparger, a longtime NFL assistant, is on the list of coaches along with Buddy Parker (former Centenary coach), Richie Petitbon (New Orleans native/Tulane) and Clark Shaughnessy (former Tulane coach).

From the list of 126 nominees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will choose 25 candidates as semifinalists to be announced in late November. The list will then be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists, which will be announced in January.

The Class of 2014 will be selected from the list of the 15 modern-era finalists plus two senior nominees — punter Ray Guy and defensive end Claude Humphrey — selected by the Hall’s Senior Selection Committee.

Voting for the Class of 2014 will be conducted at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s annual meeting in New York on Feb. 1 — the day before Super Bowl XLVIII.

Between four and seven new members will be chosen and the Class of 2014 will be announced that evening.