TAMPA, Fla. - Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson and Derrick Thomas, all witnesses for the defense. All Pro Football Hall of Famers.
The three were elected on Saturday along with longtime Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, who at age 90 will be the oldest person ever inducted; former Minnesota guard Randall McDaniel; and the late Bob Hayes, a standout wide receiver for Dallas and the 1964 Olympic 100 meters gold medalist.
Inductions will be Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.
The only candidate among the seven finalists who didn't get in was former Falcons and Eagles defensive end Claude Humphrey.
Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue was denied entry for the third straight year, not even making it past the first round of cuts.
Tagliabue, who retired in 2006 after 17 years in the job, has met strong resistance in his three years of eligibility despite the profitability and labor peace the league enjoyed during his tenure.
No such problem for Smith and Woodson in their first year on the ballot.