KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Former Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez finds himself one of four first-time eligible players among the year's nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2019.
Gonzalez, linebacker London Fletcher, cornerback Champ Bailey and safety Ed Reed makeup the first-year candidates among the 102 modern-era nominees for the 2019 class.
Other former Chiefs players on the nominee list on the quarterback Dave Krieg, defensive ends Neil Smith and Leslie O'Neal and cornerbacks Albert Lewis and Ty Law. Former Chiefs head coaches Marty Schottenheimer and Dick Vermeil also made cut along with Schottenheimer's defensive coordinator in Kansas City Bill Cowher.
Gonzalez spent 17 seasons in the NFL, including his first 12 with the Chiefs. The club selected the former California tight end with the No. 13 overall selection of the 1997 draft. He played the last five seasons of his career with the Atlanta Falcons and retired with 1,325 receptions, 15,127 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He holds a number of franchise records for the Chiefs including most receptions (916), receiving yards (10,940) and receiving touchdowns (76). He currently ranks second in NFL history for receptions behind only Jerry Rice. He holds the all-time record for tight ends for career receptions and receiving yards and ranks No. 2 in touchdown catches behind Antonio Gates.
The Chiefs plan to add Gonzalez's name to the club's Ring of Honor at Arrowhead Stadium during the Dec. 13 Thursday night game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The list of Hall of Fame nominees will narrow down to 15 finalists for consideration by the Hall of Fame selection committee. The 48-member group meets on Feb. 2, 2019, the Saturday before the 2019 Super Bowl.
The selection committee will trim the 15 modern-era finalists to 10 and then to five. The final five candidates will be voted on individually with at least 80 percent of selectors votings yes to add the player to the Hall of Fame.
The committee will also consider the candidacy of former Chiefs safety Johnny Robinson, who is the senior finalist. Other finalists for consideration include contributors Pat Bowlen, the owner of the Denver Broncos, and longtime NFL executive Gil Brandt. These three finalists will also receive a yes-or-no vote with 80 percent required for enshrinement.
The commit must enshrine at least four candidates but no more than eight new members to the Hall.