It has been two decades now, but the result remains the same.
Clay Matthews is still not a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In his 20th year of eligibility, but his first as a finalist, the former Cleveland Browns linebacker was not selected as a member of the hall’s Class of 2021, which was revealed during the NFL Honors program on Saturday night.
This year’s class is:
- John Lynch, a safety with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993-2003) and Denver Broncos (2004-2007)
- Calvin Johnson, a wide receiver with the Detroit Lions (2007 to 2015)
- Charles Woodson, a defensive back with the Oakland Raiders (1998 to 2005 and 2013 to 2015) and Green Bay Packers (2006 to 2012)
- Bill Nunn, a longtime scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers who was selected in the Contributor’s category
- Drew Pearson, a wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys (1973 to 1983) who was selected in the Seniors category
- Alan Faneca, a guard with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1998-2007), New York Jets (2008-09) and Arizona Cardinals (2010)
- Tom Flores, head coach of the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (1979 to 1987) and Seattle Seahawks (1992 to 1994) who was selected in the Coaches’ category
- Peyton Manning, a quarterback with the Indianapolis Colts (1998 to 2011) and the Denver Broncos (2012 to 2015)
A mainstay on a Cleveland Browns defense that helped the team reach three AFC Championship Games in the 1980s, Matthews was part of one of the best first rounds the Browns have had in the NFL Draft as he was the 12th overall selection in the 1978 draft, the same year they selected Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome.
During his 16 seasons with the Browns, Matthews posted 76.5 sacks – still the franchise career record – 1,430 tackles, 14 interceptions and 24 forced fumbles, according to the team’s website. He also made the Pro Bowl four times, with three consecutive trips from 1987 to 1989 as a key part of a Browns team that made the playoffs five consecutive years.
He closed out his career by playing three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.
Despite clearly have the credentials, Matthews misses out on becoming the 17th member of the Browns franchise to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He now moves to the Seniors category, which only has one finalist each year.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 will be enshrined on August 8 in Canton.