Anquan Boldin, Devin Hester, Vince Wilfork among semifinalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

3 modern-era players from Palm Beach County named semifinalists in first year of eligibility
Anquan Boldin, Devin Hester, Vince Wilfork, first-year eligible semifinalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame
Posted at 5:12 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 17:12:42-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A trio of former Palm Beach County football stars are semifinalists in their first-year of eligibility for Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration.

Three of the seven modern-era players named semifinalists in their first year of eligibility hail from Palm Beach County. They are former NFL stars Anquan Boldin, Devin Hester and Vince Wilfork.

Boldin was a star receiver who spent 14 seasons in the NFL.

A quarterback at Pahokee High School, Boldin moved to wide receiver at Florida State and became a second-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2003. The three-time Pro Bowl player was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2015 and helped the Baltimore Ravens win a Super Bowl to cap the 2012 season.

Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin scores TD vs Minnesota Vikings in 2009
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin sprints for a touchdown as Minnesota Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson falls down during the first half Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009, in Glendale, Ariz.

Hester, who was born and raised in Riviera Beach, spent 11 seasons in the NFL.

A standout all-purpose player at Suncoast Community High School, Hester starred at the University of Miami before becoming a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in 2006. The four-time Pro Bowler holds the NFL record for most all-time combined punt and kickoff return for touchdowns.

Chicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester in 2013
Chicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester looks for running room during a game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in Minneapolis.

Wilfork, who was born in Boynton Beach and attended Santaluces Community High School, was a defensive tackle who spent 13 seasons in the NFL.

The two-time Super Bowl champion played college football at Miami and was selected in the first round of the 2004 draft by the New England Patriots, where he made five Pro Bowl appearances and spent 11 of his 13 NFL seasons.

Vince Wilfork holds New England Patriots jersey with Robert Kraft as he announces retirement
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork display a jersey during a news conference at Gillette Stadium, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass., where Wilfork announced his retirement from the NFL.

Another modern-era semifinalist is former NFL running back Fred Taylor, who starred at Glades Central Community High School and then at the University of Florida. Drafted by the Jaguars with the ninth overall pick in 1998, Taylor spent 11 of his 13 NFL seasons in Jacksonville before retiring. He is a three-time semifinalist.

Other semifinalists from the modern era include running backs Eddie George and Ricky Watters and former Florida State star LeRoy Butler, who spent all 11 seasons of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers.

The 26 modern-era semifinalists for the class of 2022 will be reduced to 15 finalists before the inductees are announced before Super Bowl LVI.