CLEVELAND -- The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its list of 102 modern-era nominees for the Class of 2019, and several former Cleveland Browns and players with Central and Northeast Ohio ties were included.
Linebackers Clay Matthews II, Chris Spielman and Carl Banks, wide receiver/kick returner/punt returner Eric Metcalf, running back Earnest Byner and offensive lineman Lomas Brown are among the nominees for induction.
Former Browns coach Marty Schottenheimer is one of 11 coaches on the nominees’ list.
In addition to the former Browns among the nominees, former Ohio State University running back Eddie George and John Carroll University alum London Fletcher are eligible for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
PHOTOS | Former Cleveland Browns, Ohio State Buckeyes nominated for Pro Football Hall of Fame
A first-round pick of the Browns in the 1978 NFL Draft, Matthews spent 16 years in Cleveland, where in 232 games, 216 of which were starts, he registered 76.5 quarterback sacks, 1,430 total tackles, 14 interceptions, 24 forced fumbles and 13 recoveries.
A four-time Pro Bowler in Cleveland, Matthews ranks first in Browns history with 76.5 sacks, games played and most consecutive seasons, as well as second in total years of service to the organization.
Massillon-born and Ohio State-bred, Spielman ended his career with the Browns, but never played in a regular-season game because of a neck injury.
Spielman played for the Detroit Lions (1988-1995) and Buffalo Bills (1996-1997), where in 148 games, he registered 1,181 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and six interceptions. Spielman earned Pro Bowl status four times (1989-1991, 1994) and All-Pro honors in 1991, all of which came in his time with the Lions.
Banks started his career with the New York Giants, and after nine years in “The Big Apple,” he played one year with Washington before joining the Browns.
In 32 games over two years with the Browns, Banks registered 97 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Banks was a Pro Bowl/All-Pro selection with the Giants in 1987.
Metcalf played in 88 games with the Browns over six seasons, where he was a Jack-of-All-Trades player, helping in the running, passing and return games.
Metcalf rushed for 2,229 yards and 11 touchdowns, caught 297 passes for 2,732 yards and 15 scores. Additionally, Metcalf returned 127 punts for 1,341 yards and five touchdowns, as well as 139 kickoffs for 2,806 yards and two scores.
Metcalf remains the franchise leader with the most punt-return touchdowns in a career (five) and is tied for the most in a single-season (two in both 1993 and 1994). Metcalf remains the only player ever to have two punt-return touchdowns in a single game, a 28-23 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 24, 1993.
Metcalf twice earned Pro Bowl status with the Browns and was a First-Team All-Pro in 1993. Also, Metcalf earned Pro Bowl/All-Pro status with the San Diego Chargers in 1997.
In 99 regular-season games, including 54 starts, over seven years with the Browns, Byner rushed for 3,364 yards and 27 touchdowns. Additionally, Byner caught 276 passes, which he turned into 2,630 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Following his time with the Browns, Byner was a two-time Pro Bowl rusher with Washington.
Brown spent 11 years with the Lions (1985-1995) before moving onto the Arizona Cardinals (1996-1998), Browns, Giants (2000-2001) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002). Brown was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection (1990-1996) and earned First-Team All-Pro status in 1995.
Brown started 10 games for the Browns in 1999.
George started his career with the Houston Oilers and remained with the franchise for the next seven years, when they relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, and later, became the Titans before ending his nine-year NFL tenure with the Dallas Cowboys.
A four-time Pro Bowl player and First-Team All-Pro in 2000, George rushed for 10,441 yards and 68 touchdowns and caught 268 passes for 2,227 yards and 10 scores in 141 career games.
Undersized and overlooked out of Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, Fletcher took tremendous care of his body and used a tenacious motor to become one of the most consistent and productive linebackers during his 16 NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams, Bills and Washington football team.
A four-time Pro Bowler (2009-2012), Fletcher played in all 256 career games over his 16 NFL seasons, where he registered 1,796 tackles, including 1,197 solo stops and 599 assists with 39.0 quarterback sacks, two safeties, 75 passes defended and 23 interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Additionally, Fletcher forced 19 fumbles and recovered 12 turnovers.
Schottenheimer began his head coaching career with the Browns in 1984, and posted a 71-44 record in his five years in Cleveland. Schottenheimer never had a season under the .500 mark and made four trips to the AFC Playoffs with the Browns.
Under Schottenheimer’s direction, the Browns twice reached the AFC Championship Game.
Former coaches Bill Cowher and Mike Holmgren are on the nominees’ list. Cowher spent part of his playing career with the Browns before coaching the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Holmgren was the president of the organization from 2010-2012 after leading the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks to a combined three Super Bowl appearances, including one victory.
The list of nominees will be trimmed down to 25 semifinalists in November with the 15 finalists being chosen in January.
From there, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will meet in Atlanta the day before Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to choose the players, coaches and/or contributors that will make up the Class of 2019.
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