49ers news: Patrick Willis, Bryant Young are Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists

Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The 49ers could have two more names added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as legends Patrick Willis and Bryant Young were named as finalists.

If you ask any San Francisco 49ers fan, there’s no doubting it. Legendary linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Bryant Young should be shoo-ins for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Yet both players have been snubbed up to this point.

Some younger fans may not recall as much about Young as they might about Willis, but there’s no questioning the fact “B.Y.” was one of the most dominant players in Niners history.

The four-time Pro Bowler, whose eligibility for the Pro Football Hall of Fame started in 2013, ranks second on the franchise’s all-time list for sacks with 89.5, only behind the legendary Cedrick Hardman’s 108. In 1999, following a devastating knee injury, Young earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors after registering 11 sacks amid one of those Pro Bowl campaigns.

But Young was only nominated as a finalist for the Hall of Fame once since his eligibility began.

That’s changed now, though, as both Young and Willis are among the 15 finalists potentially going to be enshrined in Canton.

49ers’ Patrick Willis, Bryant Young named as finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

There’s an argument Willis should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer, perhaps only his early retirement in 2015 because of injury thwarting those initial chances.

Now in his third year of eligibility, the seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time first-team All-Pro who still leads the franchise with 733 solo tackles, is back on the eligibility list after just being enshrined in San Francisco’s own Hall of Fame earlier this season.

Canton is next on the list.

Like Bryant, Willis was one of the league’s most dominant players during his era, and some argue Willis was the best linebacker in the entire NFL during his heyday.

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It would be hard to argue that, just as much as it would be hard for 49ers fans to argue he should be enshrined with a yellow jacket alongside Bryant.

The official modern-era 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be revealed on Thursday, Feb. 10.

Let’s hope both Willis and Young get in this time.

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