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2011 NFL Hall of Fame Finalists: Deion Sanders, Jerome Bettis Among Potential Canton Inductees

Super Bowl XLV is a day away, and at 7 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, we'll be treated to an appetizers of sorts as we learn the names of the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Each year, the Board of Selectors makes it a point to select between four and seven members, and they should have no problem this year, as the Class of 2011 is filled with NFL greats.

Keep in mind that Saturday is an announcement-only affair. Inductees will not be formally enshrined in Canton until August.

Were it not for the Hall's tendency to limit induction classes to seven members, there could be at least 10 deserving inductees. The biggest stars of the 2010 class were Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice, and though it's tough to imagine better players than those two, the Class of 2011 features a slew of deserving running backs and wide receivers.

In alphabetical order, here is the full list of 2011 finalists:

Jerome Bettis, Running Back
1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

Tim Brown, Wide Receiver/Kick Returner
1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cris Carter, Wide Receiver
1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Dermontti Dawson, Center
1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

Richard Dent, Defensive End
1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Doleman– Defensive End/Linebacker – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers

Marshall Faulk, Running Back
1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams

Charles Haley, Defensive End/Linebacker
1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

Chris Hanburger, Linebacker
1965-1978 Washington Redskins

Cortez Kennedy, Defensive Tackle
1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

Curtis Martin, Running Back
1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets

Andre Reed, Wide Receiver
1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Les Richter, Linebacker
1954-1962 Los Angeles Rams

Willie Roaf, Tackle
1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs

Ed Sabol, Founder/President/Chairman
1964-1995 NFL Films

Deion Sanders, Cornerback/Kick Returner/Punt Returner
1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens

Shannon Sharpe, Tight End
1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

As we near the Class of 2011 announcements, stay tuned to this Story Stream. And for all things Super Bowl XLV, be sure to check out our Super Bowl hub.