The Arizona Wildcats are one step closer to finally having a representative — or two — in Canton, Ohio.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 122-player modern-era nominee list Wednesday morning, and two former Arizona standouts, linebackers Tedy Bruschi and Lance Briggs, are included.
Bruschi and Briggs are amongst a star-studded cast of players that includes Anquan Boldin, Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Antonio Cromartie, Torry Holt, Jeff Saturday, DeMarcus Ware and Rodney Harrison, among others.
Bruschi, a three-time Super Bowl winner, played every season of his 13-year NFL career with the New England Patriots, which drafted the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. Bruschi finished his NFL career with 1,074 tackles, 30.5 sacks, 12 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries.
After suffering a mild stroke following the 2005 Pro Bowl, Bruschi returned to the Patriots halfway through the 2005-06 season and was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year; he also received the Best Comeback Athlete ESPY.
Bruschi retired in 2008 after the Patriots' Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants in Glendale, and is currently an NFL analyst on ESPN. In the spring, Bruschi was named a senior advisor for the UA football coaching staff.
Briggs, who played linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 2003-14, tabbed 1,181 tackles, 15 sacks, 16 interceptions and 16 forced fumbles, and was a seven-time Pro Bowler from 2005-11.
During the Bears run to the Super Bowl in 2005, Briggs was named a First Team All Pro linebacker. Briggs finished his pro career earning just over $52.2 million. The 40-year-old Briggs was recently in Tucson as a Pac-12 Networks color analyst for Arizona's loss to Northern Arizona.
Semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be announced in November, with 15 finalists established by January.
Contact sports producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or email@example.com. On Twitter: @JustinESports