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Aikman, White among finalists for Pro Football Hall

CANTON, Ohio -- Reggie White dominated on defense while Troy Aikman was leading the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles.

Now two of the 1990s best players could be entering the Pro
Football Hall of Fame together.

Aikman and the late White were among the 15 finalists for the
Hall of Fame announced Wednesday, joining Thurman Thomas and Warren Moon as finalists in their first year of eligibility.

Three to six of the finalists will be selected for the Class of
2006, which will be announced Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl
in Detroit. Enshrinement of the class will be the weekend of Aug.
5-6.

Aikman quarterbacked Dallas to Super Bowl titles between the
1992-1995 seasons. He was one of the league's most accurate passers
and his 90 wins in the '90s make him the winningest starting
quarterback of any decade.

"If I were to be selected for induction, it would be the most
meaningful individual achievement of my athletic career," Aikman
said Wednesday in a statement. "It's not something that I choose
to spend a lot of time talking about, because I think that kind of
talk is unfair to those men who have already earned their place in
the Hall of Fame.

"I came into the NFL wanting nothing more than to win a
championship. My career unfolded in a way that exceeded all
expectations and I am grateful to those who helped me along the way
and shared in that success."

White, who died on Dec. 26, 2004, went to two Super Bowls with
Green Bay and was elected to 13 straight Pro Bowls as a member of
the Packers and Eagles. The defensive lineman is second on the
career sacks list with 198 and led the league twice in the
category, including 1987 when he had 21.

Thomas was a star running back for the Buffalo Bills, when they
won four straight AFC titles from 1990-93. Moon threw for nearly
50,000 yards in the NFL after starting his career in the Canadian
Football League.

The two seniors candidates, former Dallas offensive tackle
Rayfield Wright and former Oakland coach and current broadcaster
John Madden, were chosen by a special committee last August and
went straight to the finals. The other 13 finalists were selected
from a list of 25 semifinalists.

Madden, known as much for his video game and commentating as his
coaching, has been eligible for the Hall of Fame for 27 years.

The other finalists are: Derrick Thomas, the Kansas City
linebacker who died in 2000 after a car accident; linebacker Harry
Carson, who played for the New York Giants and was a member of the
1987 Super Bowl champions; defensive end L.C. Greenwood, a member
of Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" teams of the 1970s; defensive end
Claude Humphrey, who played for Atlanta and Philadelphia between
1968-81; Russ Grimm, a member of Washington's famed "Hogs"
offensive line; Bob Kuechenberg, an offensive lineman on Miami's
1972 undefeated Super Bowl champions; Minnesota and Denver tackle
Gary Zimmerman who played from 1986-1997; wide receiver Michael
Irvin, who played with Aikman on Dallas' Super Bowl teams, and wide
receiver Art Monk, a member of three Super Bowl winners with
Washington.

A 39-member panel will vote on the finalists. A candidate must
get 80 percent of the vote to be elected. If fewer than three get
80 percent, the candidate with the next highest percentage will be
elected.