CLEVELAND — Will 2021 will be the year that Clay Matthews finally gets the call for Canton?
On Tuesday, the legendary Browns linebacker was named one of 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2021. For Matthews, it's the third straight year he's made it to semifinal round for the hall and the fifth time overall.
A first-round pick of the Browns in the 1978 NFL Draft, Matthews played 16 seasons for the Browns, which totaled 232 games, 216 of which were starts. He finished with 76.5 quarterback sacks, 1,430 total tackles, 14 interceptions, 24 forced fumbles and 13 recoveries.
Matthews was a four-time Pro Bowler while with the Browns and ranks first in team history in sacks, games played and most consecutive seasons, as well as second in total years of service to the organization. Overall, Matthews played in 278 games, making the start in 248 contests, and was on the field for 12 or more games in all but one of his nearly 20-year NFL career.
Last season, the Browns inducted Matthews into the team's Ring of Honor at FirstEnergy Stadium.
A native of Palo Alto, California and graduate of USC, Matthews comes from a rich football bloodline: His father Clay Sr. played for the San Francisco 49ers during the 1950s, while his brother Bruce became a Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise. In addition, Clay's son Clay III is a former All-Pro linebacker (having already passed his dad's sack mark), and a second son Casey was an All-American at Oregon before playing in the NFL for five years.
Among the group of first-time semifinalists for the Class of 2021 are Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, and Calvin Johnson. You can see the entire list here or in the tweet below: