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Tony Gonzalez Among Pro Football Hall of Fame Nominees in First Year of Eligibility

Gonzalez is among four former players to make the list in their first year of eligibility

Tony Gonzalez is one step closer to Canton.

The former Kansas City Chiefs' tight end, who will be enshrined in the Chiefs Ring of Honor during Kansas City's Thursday Night Football matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 13, was named one of 102 Modern Era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday.

Over 17 seasons with Kansas City (1997-08) and the Atlanta Falcons (2009-13), Gonzalez earned 14 Pro Bowl selections (1999-08, 2010-13) and 10 first- or second-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press.

He finished his career with the most career receptions (1,325), receiving yards (15,127) and 100-yard receiving games (31) by a tight end in NFL history, and the second-most touchdown receptions (111) behind only the Los Angeles Chargers' Antonio Gates (114).

Additionally, Gonzalez's 1,325 career receptions are second to only Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice (1,549) for the most in NFL history.

It all adds up to quite the resume, making Gonzalez one of just four former players to be nominated for the 2019 class in their first year of eligibility. Former linebacker London Fletcher, cornerback Champ Bailey and safety Ed Reed are the other three.

Joining Gonzalez on the list of nominees are former Chiefs' defensive end Neil Smith (1988-96), cornerback Albert Lewis (1983-1993), defensive end Leslie O'Neal (1998-99), cornerback Ty Law (2006-07), quarterback Dave Krieg (1992-93) and head coaches Marty Schottenheimer (1989-98) and Dick Vermeil (2001-05).

Fifteen of the 102 Modern-Era finalists will be presented to the Hall of Fame Selection Committee the day prior to the Super Bowl. Senior Finalist Johnny Robinson, who spent his entire career with the Texans/Chiefs franchise from 1960-71, and Contributor Finalists Pat Bowlen and Gil Brandt will also be included in the voting.

Between four and eight of those individuals will be immortalized in Canton next August.

For more on this year's list of nominees, click here.