Buffalo Bills greats Andre Reed and Steve Tasker were among 26 players named as semifinalists Wednesday on the 2008 ballot for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Reed and Tasker made the cutdown from a preliminary list of 124 candidates in a vote of the Hall's board of selectors. The list of 26 semifinalists will be reduced to 15 modern-era candidates in another vote that will take place next month.
Those 15 will join two senior nominees who will be considered in a final vote on the Class of 2008 that is held the day before the Super Bowl in February.
Wide receiver Cris Carter and cornerback Darrell Green are the only first-year eligible players to make the list of 26 semifinalists.
Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. did not make the semifinalist list, and neither did any other owner or former coach. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue made the list. So did George Young, the late New York Giants general manager.
Also on the semifinal list: running back Terrell Davis, receiver Art Monk, quarterback Ken Stabler, center Dermontti Dawson, defensive ends Fred Dean, Richard Dent and Charles Haley, linebackers Kevin Greene, Randy Gradishar, Derrick Thomas, Andre Tippett and Rickey Jackson, guards Russ Grimm, Bob Kuechenberg and Randall McDaniel, tackles Joe Jacoby and Gary Zimmerman, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, cornerback Lester Hayes and punter Ray Guy. There are 26 semifinalists because there was a tie for the 25th spot.
Reed was among the final 15 candidates last year. He ranks fifth in NFL history in receptions and is seventh in receiving yards. Tasker, considered by many the greatest special-teamer ever, has made the semifinal list before but not the list of finalists.
The Bills are expected to be down two more starters for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.
Running backs Marshawn Lynch and Anthony Thomas were unable to practice Wednesday, and coach Dick Jauron said he's not optimistic about either one playing. That means Fred Jackson will likely make his first career start. Lynch is likely to miss his third straight game with a sprained ankle. Thomas has a calf injury and was on crutches.
Also on crutches was defensive end Chris Kelsay, who has a sprained ankle and a bruised bone in the ankle. He's likely out. His backup, Ryan Denney, did not practice either, due to a sore foot. Denney's foot is not a serious problem. He has battled soreness in the foot, which was broken in preseason. If Denney can't play, Anthony Hargrove would get the start.
Other Bills missing practice included: Jerametrius Butler (calf), tight end Robert Royal (ankle), Mario Haggan (illness), Roscoe Parrish (illness), Bryan Scott (illness) and Coy Wire (neck). Butler and Wire are probably the most questionable of those players. Donte Whitner was excused to attend to a family matter. Defensive tackle Larry Tripplett (abdomen) was limited.
Lynch was jogging on the sidelines during practice without too much difficulty. He was not making any cuts.
"We're not optimistic about this week," Jauron said. "But again he's ahead of the schedule we set for him."
Kelsay reinjured the same ankle he hurt a month ago, when he tore one of three tendons in the ankle. He was able to play the following week after missing two days of practice. But this time he has a bone bruise on the ankle in addition to the sprain.
"The bone bruise is what's more sore and severe right now," Kelsay said. "There's not a timetable. It's just a matter of when I can start moving around on it."
For the Redskins, starting defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (ankle) did not practice. Neither did starting fullback Mike Sellers (back), who missed last week's game. Receiver Antwaan Randle El aggravated a hamstring injury Sunday. He was limited in practice. . . . The Bills added defensive end Shaun Nua to the practice squad. Nua was a seventh-round pick of Pittsburgh in 2005 and spent most of the previous two seasons on the Steelers' practice squad.