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Clay Matthews selected as a Hall of Fame finalist

Linebacker played 16 seasons with the Browns and remains the franchise leader in sacks.

Indianapolis Colts v Cleveland Browns Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Clay Matthews, a mainstay on a Cleveland Browns defense that helped the team reach three AFC Championship Games in the 1980s, has been selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mattews is one of 15 modern-era finalists for the hall’s Class of 2021 that was announced on Tuesday evening. This is the first time that Matthews has made it as a finalist.

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.

The hall of fame’s selection committee will elect up to five modern-era players when it meets on January 19. To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum of 80 percent of the vote from the selection committee, according to the hall of fame’s website.

According to NFL.com, Matthews is joined on the finalist list by:

It is a tough group to go up against for Matthews, as you have to figure that Manning, Johnson and Woodson are likely locks to get enough votes for enshrinement, leaving just two available slots.

But Matthews is more than deserving of becoming the 17th member of the Browns franchise to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.