First-year eligibles LaDainian Tomlinson, Hines Ward, Jason Taylor and Brian Dawkins are among 26 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fames class of 2017.Joining them as first-time semifinalists is tackle-guard Chris Hinton, who retired in 1989 but has made this cut for the first time.The other 21 candidates -- there was a tie for 25th in voting by Hall of Fame selectors as the list was trimmed from an original 94 -- all have made it this far in the past.Two coaches, Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson, have made the semifinals. So has placekicker Morten Andersen, the NFLs career scoring leader.Previously nominated by the veterans committee was safety Kenny Easley, and by the contributors committee were Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.The 2017 class will be selected on Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl. Between four and eight new members will be chosen.Inductions will be in August at the Canton, Ohio, shrine.Also semifinalists are quarterback Kurt Warner; running backs Roger Craig, Terrell Davis and Edgerrin James; wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Terrell Owens; offensive tackles Tony Boselli, Joe Jacoby and Mike Kenn; guard Alan Faneca; center Kevin Mawae; cornerback Ty Law; safeties Steve Atwater, John Lynch and Darren Woodson; and linebackers Karl Mecklenburg and Clay Matthews Jr., the father of current Packers LB Clay Matthews III.Warner, Bruce and Holt teamed up to win a Super Bowl with the Rams. Craig, Davis, Faneca, Law, Jacoby, Atwater, Johnson, Jones, Lynch, Woodson and Ward all own Super Bowl rings.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Nike Sneakers Clearance Sale . Rinne played two periods in his first game since left hip surgery in early May. 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LOUIS -- Rookie Tavon Austin has missed another day of practice, lessening the odds hell be ready for the St. LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Nneka Ogwumike was presented her MVP award by WNBA president Lisa Borders before Wednesdays playoff semifinal opener with Chicago. She smiled and posed for a few photos, but she didnt get a really good look at the trophy until she walked into the Sparks locker room after the game and saw it sitting there.By that point, shed put on a fantastic display as to why she won it. Ogwumike and the No. 2 seed Sparks went to their strength in a 95-75 victory against Chicago: They dominated the post.Ogwumike had 27 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots. Candace Parker had 30 points, nine rebounds and three assists. And Jantel Lavender came off the bench to add 12 points and four rebounds.Combined, they made 28 of 37 shots: 75.7 percent. Somebody needed to check the nets for burn marks.Especially against a team missing last years MVP, 6-foot-5 forward/guard Elene Delle Donne (out with a thumb injury), the Sparks knew this game was about relentlessly wielding the cudgel they have.We understood that we couldnt get away from what we do well, Ogwumike said. Thats kind of what happened after the Olympic break. We lost ourselves a bit, and then we regrouped.Which is why I think this 12-day break [before the playoffs] was beneficial for us, because we handled it differently than the Olympic break. We were able to dissect their defense and figure out how we could score against it.So, just like Minnesota pounded Phoenix in the first game of their semifinal Wednesday in St. Paul (which will be the Lynxs home next year, as Target Center is being renovated), the Sparks also clobbered their foe in an alternate gym. The Walter Pyramid, on the campus of Long Beach State, was used because there was a facility conflict with Staples Center. The Sparks will return to Staples for Game 2 against Chicago on Friday (ESPNews, 10 p.m. ET).Parker added that she thought there was a silver lining in the Sparks struggles in late August and September, when they went 5-5 to close the regular season. They realized they were resilient, Parker said, and that they could bounce back when things didnt go well.It had been easy for the Sparks to say they were a cohesive unit during their 21-3 run before the Rio de Janeiro Games. But they really proved that to themselves with how they stuck together during some hard times.It takes battling through adversity to win a championship, Parker said. Thats what I took from it. That we have to continue to play and trust the process.Parker has won the MVP award twice: in her rookie season of 2008, and in 2013. Ogwumike, who like Parker was a No. 1 draft pick, came to the Sparks in 2012 and made a point of studying everything that Parker didd.ddddddddddddTheres so much to learn from her, Ogwumike said. Its fun to see where our chemistry is now.Parker returned the compliment, saying she is also learning plenty from Ogwumike.I think its been an amazing journey for me to sit back and watch Nneka develop the way she has, Parker said. Shes always played with the same amount of energy, selflessness and passion since she got to L.A.It takes work and energy to go in there with four people rebounding and come out with the rebound.But thats something Ogwumike seems to do all the time. Even when youre sure shes so outnumbered that she cant possibly be the one who rebounds the ball, she somehow still gets it.And that relentless energy was evident all night Wednesday, but encapsulated by one particular third-quarter tour-de-force. Ogwumike blocked Jessica Brelands shot at the top of the key, chased down the ball, and raced down the court for a layup.It was among the Sparks plays that got Magic Johnson, one of the teams owners, out of his seat and on his feet applauding.I think that was probably the epitome of how Ive been playing, Ogwumike said when asked about that sequence.Why was she still diving for loose balls and making hustle plays even late in the game when the outcome was essentially decided? Ogwumike said she doesnt think you can just turn effort off and on based on the score of the game. Her dial is set at on all the time.As for the MVP trophy, she said it was heavier than she expected. And the magnitude of it is still setting in for Ogwumike.Its been amazing, but Im not sure its really hit me yet, she said. It will maybe after the season. Its pretty cool.Where is the trophy going to be displayed?Its going to my mom, Ogwumike said, laughing. Shes already claimed it.The Sparks, though, stressed that they fully realize they have not yet claimed their spot in the WNBA Finals, despite such a resounding victory. They still have to win two more games, and the Sky are going to do whatever they can to make it harder on Ogwumike and Parker.Good luck with that. Sparks coach Brian Agler was especially proud of how Wednesday exemplified the effort that Ogwumike has shown every game and practice this season.The thing thats just so eye-opening to me is how efficient she is, he said. Shes worked on her game, and she plays so hard, so competitive. Ive coached a lot of really good players. And the one characteristic I would say you need if you want to be an MVP player is that they play with such great intensity, and focus. And theyre hungry to have success. Weve seen it all year long with her. ' ' '