MIAMI — Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu became the latest player to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
The six-time All-Pro was one of five modern-era players selected Saturday from 15 finalists to the Hall’s expanded centennial class of 2020.
The centennial class includes 20 members. Ten seniors, including former Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael; three contributors; and two coaches were selected last month.
The four other modern-era players voted in Saturday along with Polamalu by the Hall of Fame’s 48-member selection committee were wide receiver Isaac Bruce, guard Steve Hutchinson, running back Edgerrin James, and safety Steve Atwater.
Former Philadelphia Stars linebacker Sam Mills was a finalist for the first time in the 18 years he’s been eligible. But he didn’t survive the 15-to-10 reduction vote.
Mills was the most dominant defensive player in the short-lived USFL. He led the Stars to two titles in the spring league’s three years of existence.
After the USFL died, Mills played 12 seasons in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers. He was a three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler. Mills died of cancer in 2005 at the age of 46.
Atwater, who played 10 of his 11 seasons with the Denver Broncos, made the Hall of Fame in his 16th year of eligibility and his third time as a finalist.
James and Bruce made it in their sixth year of eligibility. Both were four-time finalists. Hutchinson made it in his third year of eligibility and third year as a finalist.
“I made the comment to Troy [Polamalu] when we were coming in here [for the news conference] that I’ve never been so tired from not doing anything,’’ Hutchinson said of waiting to find out whether he finally had made the Hall of Fame or was going to have to wait another year.
The other four finalists who were eliminated with Mills on the 15-to-10 reduction vote were wide receiver Torry Holt, safety LeRoy Butler, defensive tackle Bryant Young and wide receiver Reggie Wayne. This was Wayne’s first year of eligibility.
Eliminated in the 10-to-5 vote were defensive tackle Richard Seymour, safety John Lynch, offensive tackle Tony Boselli, linebacker Zach Thomas, and guard Alan Faneca.
Lynch, the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, who will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, is a seven-time finalist. Faneca is a five-time finalist and Boselli has made it to the final 15 four times.
Polamalu’s selection wasn’t a surprise. He was pretty much considered a first-year lock. Atwater’s selection, on the other hand, was a surprise. Eligible since 2004, he wasn’t a finalist until 2016.
In contrast to Polamula is Carmichael, who finally has made the Hall of Fame after a 30-year wait.
Carmichael, who still holds every significant Eagles receiving record, attends the Super Bowl every year. But attending it this year as a Hall of Fame inductee clearly was special to him.
“It was pretty tough [not making it] a couple of times,’’ he said Saturday. “Everybody was telling me I should be in there. This year, because they expanded the class, if I hadn’t made it, it would’ve been even tougher to deal with.’’
A couple of Carmichael’s old nemeses — Cowboys safety Cliff Harris and Steelers safety Donnie Shell — also are among the 10 seniors in the centennial class. On Saturday, they sat next to Carmichael at the Hall of Fame news conference.
“It’s been great being around these guys,’’ he said. “Donnie and I went at it pretty good for years when we played. And then I’d go up against Cliff twice a year every year. He and I went at it just all the time.
“But like one of them said, all of that’s erased now. Our busts are going to be next to each other. When everybody goes home, they’ll be talking to each other and trying to hit each other again.
“This has all been very exciting for me. It’s been great."