Eddie DeBartolo moved a familiar step closer to enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The 49ers' former owner is among 27 modern-era semifinalists for next year's class, along with ex-49ers Charles Haley, Roger Craig, Kevin Greene and Larry Allen. DeBartolo was a finalist for the 2012 class.

Allen, ex-Denver safety John Lynch, who played at Stanford, and former Raiders defensive lineman Warren Sapp were among the first-year eligible players. Ex-Raiders receiver Tim Brown was also on the semifinal list.

The field will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists and senior nominees Curly Culp and Dave Robinson in early January.

Saints: It had been 10 months since Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith were face to face with their former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams -- a span that included suspensions for all three in connection with what a league investigation determined was a cash-for-hits bounty program. Friday, Vilma and Smith sat while their lawyers cross-examined Williams. Smith described the hearing, the third this week in Washington overseen by ex-commissioner Paul Tagliabue, as "peaceful" and "not awkward." Both have been allowed to play while their appeals are pending. Tagliabue insists the contents of the appeals process remain private. The hearings will resume Monday in New Orleans.


Advertisement

Eagles: Concussions will keep Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy out of Sunday's game against Dallas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.