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:
- Peyton Manning, QB – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts, 2012-2015 Denver Broncos
- Calvin Johnson, WR – 2007-2015 Detroit Lions
- Torry Holt, WR — 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
- Reggie Wayne, WR — 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
- Charles Woodson, DB – 1998-2005, 2013-2015 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers
- Ronde Barber, DB – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- LeRoy Butler, S — 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
- John Lynch, FS — 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
- Jared Allen, DE – 2004-2007 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-2015 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
- Richard Seymour, DE/DT — 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
- Zach Thomas, LB — 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
- Sam Mills, LB — 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
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.