Aug 2, 2014; Canton, OH, USA; A general view of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Fawcett Stadium with the banners of 2014 enshrinees Derrick Brooks, Ray Guy, Claude Humphrey, Walter Jones, Andre Reed, and Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Does Clay Matthews Have A Chance To Be The Next Member of The Cleveland Browns Enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

The Cleveland Browns have a proud tradition of players enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Names synonymous with the game, such as Jim Brown, Otto Graham, Lou Groza, Marion Motley, and Leroy Kelly all have their busts on display among the NFL’s elite.

Gene Hickerson was the last Brown to stand on the stage in 2007, which begs the question, who will be the next Browns great enshrined in Canton?

Former linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. is certainly one of the more interesting candidates. ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi was asked about Matthews’ chicness in Sunday’s Hey Tony column.

Grossi said this about the possibility:

“Matthews, one of the Browns’ greatest modern-era players, has never reached the finalist round of 15. That’s the step in the arduous process where each finalist candidate is discussed and debated in the selection meeting on the eve of the Super Bowl. Until Matthews reaches that round, I can only guess what the arguments are against him. I think the knocks are that his greatest attribute was longevity (19 years), that he never appeared in a Super Bowl, and that he was never considered the best of his era and thus could not be considered one of the best of all time. At the very least, Matthews is due his day in the selection meeting for his candidacy to receive a thorough discussion.”

Grossi is spot on with his last point. Matthews is at least worthy of having his case made.

CBS Sports predicted that Junior Seau will be among the 2015 group of inductees. If that’s the case, perhaps Matthews will finally draw the attention he deserves.

Seau was a 12-time Pro Bowler, who started 243 games over 20 seasons, the second most of any linebacker in NFL history, behind only Matthews’ 248.

Matthews only made four Pro Bowls in his 16-year carer. While making four trips to Hawaii is impressive, it’s almost a given that the Hall’s selection committee will use that against him, arguing that if he was so great, he should’ve been chosen to more games.

He also doesn’t have a defining moment that fans outside of Browns Town can remember. As Grossi pointed out, he never made it to the Super Bowl. If Matthews and company could’ve beaten the Broncos in at  least one of those AFC Title games of the 1980s, Matthew’s Hall chances might have a different fate.

Unfortunately for Browns fans, the man with the closest ties to the Brown with the best chicness are having his head busted in bronze could be former owner Art Modell.

The NFL board of trustees approved a separate category for “contributors” on Friday. Unable to secure the media votes in 2002 and 2013, this could be the late owner’s ticket into Canton.

From’s Tom Reed:

“…The separate category gives Modell supporters new hope and his detractors fresh reason for worry. It works similar to the senior players category in which a subcommittee of selectors nominates candidates. Over the next five classes there will be two contributor candidates in the odd-numbered years (2015, 2017, 2019) and one candidate in the even-numbered years (2014, 2016).”

The Browns have 16 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is tied with Washington for fifth-highest total league-wide.


Tags: Art Modell Clay Matthews Cleveland Browns Pro Football Hall Of Fame

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