Former Ravens wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith Sr. could be part of the next Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
Boldin and Smith are among 25 players from the modern era selected as semifinalists for the class of 2024, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday. This is the third time as a semifinalist for both Boldin and Smith.
Two players who spent one season with the Ravens, wide receiver/punt returner Devin Hester and offensive tackle Willie Anderson, are also among the 25 finalists. The Hall of Fame committee will announce the 2024 Hall of Fame Class in February during Super Bowl week.
Boldin spent three seasons with the Ravens (2010-12) and was an instrumental part of their second Super Bowl-winning team. He had his best season for the Ravens in 2012, catching 65 passes for 921 yards and four touchdowns.
In the 2012 playoffs, Boldin took his game to another level with 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns during Baltimore's four-game run to a Super Bowl title. In Baltimore's 34-31 victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Boldin had his best postseason game with six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Known as one of the NFL's toughest receivers, Boldin consistently made contested catches in traffic and was a go-to target in clutch situations.
During his 14-year NFL career, Boldin also played for the Cardinals, 49ers and Lions and finished with 1,076 career receptions for 13,799 yards and 82 touchdowns. He ranks ninth all-time in NFL receptions and No. 14 in receiving yards, and the three-time Pro Bowler won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2015.
Smith capped his extraordinary 16-year career, which included eight 1,000-yard seasons, by playing his final three years with the Ravens (2014-16).
In his first season with Baltimore, Smith caught 79 passes for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns and helped the Ravens reach the divisional round of the playoffs.
In 2015, Smith announced he would retire after the season. He was on pace for another 1,000-yard year when he suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon in Week 8, finishing with the year with 46 catches for 670 catches and three touchdowns. Wanting to retire on his own terms, Smith changed his mind and returned for the 2016 season at age 37. He proved he had plenty left in the tank, catching 70 passes in his final season for 799 yards and five touchdowns.
Smith was a fierce competitor, considered too undersized (5-foot-9) by many scouts to be a No. 1 receiver when he entered the league as a third-round pick. He played with a chip on his shoulder that never left, going full speed in both games and practices. He was willing to run around defenders or run through them, and was also a threat as a returner with six career touchdowns on special teams.
Smith played his first 13 seasons with the Carolina Panthers and made the Pro Bowl five times. He ranks eighth all-time in NFL receiving yards (14,731) and No. 12 all-time in receptions (1,031).
Hester, the league's all-time leader with 20 career touchdowns as a returner, played his final season with the Ravens in 2016 and averaged 24.5 yards on kickoff returns and 7.2 yards on punt returns.
Anderson, a four-time Pro Bowler, started 10 games for the Ravens in 2008 before announcing his retirement.