CANTON, Ohio — After years of missing the cut, legendary Cleveland Browns linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. was snubbed once more by the Pro Football Hall of Fame election committee.
Matthews, who was just named a finalist for the first time in his 20 years of eligibility, was not elected despite hopes that this would be the year.
Charles Woodson, Calvin Johnson, Alan Faneca, John Lynch and Payton Manning were the Modern-Era selections.
Matthews, who played for the Browns from 1978 to 1993, was selected by the Browns with the 12th overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft. Matthews played in 232 games for Cleveland, recording 1,430 tackles, 14 interceptions, 24 forced fumbles, 13 fumble recoveries and 62 sacks.
The linebacker was a star on the 1980 Kardiac Kids roster, helping Cleveland make it to the playoffs for the first time since 1972 in a must-win Week 16 game against the Bengals. Unfortunately, that win was followed with the Red Right 88 game, an unfortunate end to an unforgettable season.
Between the Browns and the Atlanta Falcons, Matthews played 19 seasons in the NFL, 16 in Cleveland and three in Atlanta.
The longevity of Matthews career—19 seasons —is a testament to his durability, but his talent on the field is the driving force behind what makes him deserving of the Hall of Fame. Over the course of his career, Matthews was a three-time All Pro and earned four Pro Bowl selections. He holds the Browns record for most career sacks and most career sack yards.
Matthews, who has long been waiting for selection into the Hall of Fame, now faces an even tougher battle to get into the Canton museum as this year marked his final year of eligibility as a Modern-Era nominee.
Since he was not selected this year, Matthews will have to be selected as a Senior Nominee from the pool of players who concluded their career more than 25 years ago, from whom only one is selected each year.
While he didn’t receive top honors Friday, in 2019, the Browns inducted Matthews into the team’s Ring of Honor, holding a ceremony for him during halftime of a game against the Los Angeles Rams, with his son Clay Matthews III in attendance.