CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Jan. 10, 2021.
After 20 years, Clay Matthews Jr.’s candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame is now in the hands of the Coaches/Senior Committee. On Saturday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 2021 class, with the former Cleveland Browns linebacker once again on the outside looking in.
Having exhausted his 20-year eligibility as a Modern Era candidate, Matthews’ candidacy will move to the Coaches/Senior Committee beginning in 2022. The Coach/Senior Committee is comprised of nine veteran members of the overall Selection Committee with an 80 percent vote required for induction.
You can read more about the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection process here.
Selected out of USC with the No. 12 overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft, Matthews spent the first 16 years of his 19-year pro career in Cleveland. Serving as a cornerstone of the Browns defense through the 1980s and early 1990s, the four-time Pro Bowl and one-time second-team All-Pro selection set franchise records for solo tackles (1,430), sacks (62) and forced fumbles (24) during his time in Cleveland.
In 2019, Matthews was inducted into the Browns' Ring of Honor.
Should he ultimately gain induction into Canton the coming years, Matthews would join his brother, offensive lineman and 2007 inductee Bruce Matthews, in the Hall of Fame. His son, former Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams linebacker Clay Matthews III, could also earn Hall of Fame consideration in the coming years.
The full 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class is as follows:
- Defensive back Charles Woodson
- Wide receiver Calvin Johnson
- Wide receiver Drew Pearson
- Guard Alan Faneca
- Scout Bill Nunn
- Safety John Lynch
- Quarterback Peyton Manning
- Coach Tom Flores