Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith , the NFL's career receiving and rushing leaders, are among 17 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Left out was former Thomson resident and Raiders punter Ray Guy , a seven-time finalist.
Rice and Smith are considered virtual locks to be voted into the Hall on Feb. 6. No punters are in the Hall.
Rice is the NFL's career receiving leader with 1,549 catches for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns.
Smith is the NFL's all-time rusher, running for 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns.
Each of them won three Super Bowls, with Rice the game's MVP in 1989 and Smith in 1994.
Other finalists include receiver Tim Brown , also a first-time nominee, and fellow wideouts Cris Carter and Andre Reed .
Tight end Shannon Sharpe , running back Roger Craig , center Dermontti Dawson , guard Russ Grimm , defensive tackles John Randle and Cortez Kennedy , defensive end Richard Dent , defensive end/linebacker Charles Haley , LB Rickey Jackson , and coach Don Coryell also made the cut.
The two senior nominees are running back Floyd Little and cornerback Dick LeBeau , who is considered one of the NFL's top assistant coaches and now is defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh.
The semifinalists who did not advance Friday: former commissioner Paul Tagliabue ; former Browns/Ravens owner Art Modell ; wide receivers Cliff Branch and Steve Tasker (also a an outstanding special teams player); cornerbacks Aeneas Williams and Lester Hayes ; running back Terrell Davis ; DE-LBs Chris Doleman and Kevin Greene ; and punter Guy.
SEAHAWKS: Coach Jim Mora was fired after just one season, leaving the former NFC West champs without a coach, general manager and president less than four years after they appeared in the Super Bowl.
Speculation on Mora's replacement immediately centered on Southern California coach Pete Carroll . The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke flew to California this week to interview Carroll for the job. ESPN.com, citing unidentified league sources, said an announcement of Carroll joining the team could come early next week.
A Seahawks spokesman inside the team's headquarters refused to comment on Carroll. Carroll did not return a phone message left by the AP, and Leiweke did not respond to an e-mail asking about Carroll.
Mora, who finished 5-11, had three years and almost $12 million remaining on his contract.
CHIEFS: Barely a month after getting fired at Notre Dame, Charlie Weis signed on as offensive coordinator with Kansas City, where he'll join two old friends in trying to revive a franchise that's won only 10 games in three years.
General manager Scott Pioli was a front office executive in New England when Weis was offensive coordinator for the Patriots' four Super Bowl teams, and Weis shared a small office with coach Todd Haley for three years when they were assistants with the New York Jets.
BILLS: Owner Ralph Wilson confirmed the team has spoken to Bill Cowher about the team's coaching vacancy, but he isn't sure whether the former Steelers coach is interested in the job.
Cowher, who works as an NFL analyst for CBS, has declined to discuss his future.
CARDINALS: Anquan Boldin is doing everything he can to be healthy enough to play in the Cardinals' wild card game against the Green Bay Packers.
The three-time Pro Bowl receiver didn't practice again Friday because of a left high ankle sprain, a condition compounded by a sprained left knee. He was listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Boldin's participation will be a game-time decision.