Safety Ed Reed, cornerback Champ Bailey and tight end Tony Gonzalez are more than first-year nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's modern-era Class of 2019.
They're favorites to be first-ballot choices, too, with Reed and Gonzalez the most likely.
All three were first-team all-decade choices and are among the 102 former players and coaches included on the Hall's modern-era preliminary list, released early Thursday afternoon -- a list that includes 47 players on offense, 39 on defense as well as five on special teams. There are also 11 coaches.
Reed was a star safety for the Baltimore Ravens who not only won a Super Bowl but was a Defensive Player of the Year (2004). He holds a passel of NFL records, including the two longest interception returns for touchdowns, the most career interception return yards and the most interceptions (9) in postseason play. A nine-time Pro Bowler and eight-time All-Pro, Reed is considered the closest to a first-ballot lock.
Then there's Gonzalez, who was named to 14 Pro Bowls and holds the league record for most career receptions and receiving yards by a tight end. He's also second in league history in receptions, bested only by Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice.
In Gonzalez's 17 years with Kansas City and Atlanta, he missed only two games, and he's not expected to miss enshrinement in his first try as a Hall-of-Fame candidate.
--Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy used a basketball analogy to address star quarterback Aaron Rodgers' uphill climb to play in this weekend's game against the Minnesota Vikings.
"This is no layup," McCarthy said of Rodgers' sprained knee. "That's why it's a day-to-day situation."
Rodgers won't practice again on Thursday but will attempt to step up the rehabilitation portion of his work, McCarthy said. A two-time NFL Most Valuable Player and six-time Pro Bowl selection, Rodgers has been going through his normal preparation while backups DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle have taken the actual snaps in practice.
Wide receiver Davante Adams, who sat out Wednesday's practice with a shoulder injury, was a limited participant Thursday. Adams had five catches for 88 yards and a score in Week 1 and led the team with 74 receptions and 10 touchdowns last season.
--Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed a second straight day of practice, putting his status in jeopardy for Sunday's game against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs.
Although Roethlisberger expressed confidence that his bruised elbow would not prevent him from playing against the Chiefs, sitting out Thursday's practice led to some doubts.
"We'll see how I feel tomorrow," said Roethlisberger, per ESPN.
Asked Thursday whether he expected Roethlisberger to be under center Sunday, Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner told the NFL Network: "I wouldn't be able to answer that at this point."
--Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn acknowledged that defensive end Joey Bosa could face a lengthy absence due to his injured left foot.
"He's week to week but he'll probably be gone for the next couple weeks," Lynn said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Bosa sat out the Chargers' 38-28 season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend and is expected to miss Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills (0-1).
The 23-year-old Bosa visited foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Green Bay (Wis.) on Wednesday. A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Bosa has a bone bruise in his injured left foot. Bosa initially injured his foot during 11-on-11 team drills in practice on Aug. 7.