Bledsoe, Shields, Cowher among candidates

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CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Retired coaches Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells and Marty Schottenheimer are among the modern-era candidates for the 2012 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Cowher is eligible for the first time, as are Keyshawn Johnson, Tiki Barber, Drew Bledsoe, Stephen Davis, Rod Smith, Will Shields, Troy Vincent and Mike Vanderjagt.

Parcells and Schottenheimer previously were eligible under different requirements.

In 2008, the Hall of Fame made it mandatory for coaches, like players, to be retired five consecutive seasons. Before that, coaches were eligible immediately upon retirement, allowing Parcells to be a nominee in 2001, 2002, and 2003, and Schottenheimer in 2000. This is their first year of eligibility under the new provision.