Eric Allen, a six-time Pro Bowl cornerback who was an integral part of the Eagles’ great defenses of the late ’80s and early ’90s, is among the 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021.
This is Allen’s first time as a semifinalist. He joins, among others, the late Sam Mills, a former linebacker for the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars and the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, who is a semifinalist for the fourth time. Mills made it to the final 15 last year.
Allen is one of four semifinalists who have been previously eligible for the Hall of Fame. He retired in 2001 and has been eligible since 2006. The other 3 are offensive tackle Willie Anderson, linebacker Cornelius Bennett and safety Rodney Harrison.
Four first-year eligible players also are semifinalists: quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, cornerback Charles Woodson and defensive end Jared Allen.
The other 16 semifinalists announced Tuesday: CB Ronde Barber, OT Tony Boselli, S LeRoy Butler, G Alan Faneca, WR Torry Holt, S John Lynch, LB Clay Matthews, DL Richard Seymour, WR/ST player Steve Tasker, RB Fred Taylor, LB Zach Thomas, WR Hines Ward, WR Reggie Wayne, LB Patrick Willis, S Darren Woodson and DT Bryant Young.
Allen, a 1988 second-round pick out of Arizona State by the Eagles, played 14 years in the league, including seven with the Eagles, where he was a part of one of the greatest defenses in NFL history with Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Clyde Simmons, Seth Joyner and the late Andre Waters and Wes Hopkins.
Allen, who also played three years with the New Orleans Saints and four with the Oakland Raiders, was a first- or second-team All-Pro selection three times and an All-NFC selection six times. He is tied for 21st in NFL history in career interceptions with 54. He had five or more picks six different times, including a career-high eight in his second year playing for Buddy Ryan in 1989.
Allen is tied for eighth all-time in interception returns for touchdowns with eight, including three in 2000 with the Oakland Raiders at the age of 35.
The Eagles recorded 20 or more interceptions in six of Allen’s seven seasons in Philadelphia. They held teams to an average of 17.7 points and 199.1 passing yards per game in his seven seasons with the Eagles.