The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 enshrinement weekend in August was already going to be a special occasion with the Cleveland Browns taking part in the Hall of Fame Game on August 3.
But the weekend got even more epic on Monday when the hall revealed the order of this year’s enshrinement speeches and made the best possible choice for the ceremony’s closing act.
Joe Thomas, who spent his entire 11-year career as the anchor of Cleveland’s offensive line at left tackle, will be the final speaker among the nine honorees in what is sure to be a memorable day in Cleveland sports.
The enshrinement ceremony will begin on August 5 at noon with Zach Thomas of the Miami Dolphins taking the stage and be presented by Jimmy Johnson, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and Thomas’ head coach with the Dolphins. The order from there, with each presenter, will be:
- Ken Riley (Cincinnati Bengals), presented by Barbara Riley, his widow.
- DeMarcus Ware (Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos), presented by Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys and a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
- Joe Klecko (New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts), presented by his former teammate Marty Lyons
- Chuck Howley (Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears), presented by Bob Lilly, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and his former teammate
- Darrelle Revis (New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs), presented by Diana Askew, his mother
- Don Coryell (head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers), presented by Dan Fouts, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and Coryell’s quarterback with the Chargers
- Rondé Barber (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), presented by Tiki Barber, his brother
- Joe Thomas (Cleveland Browns), presented by Annie Thomas, his wife
The event will include video tributes to Coryell, who passed away in 2010, and Riley, who passed away in 2020. The 87-year-old Howley will be represented by his son, Scott.
Enshrinees are encouraged to keep their remarks to a maximum of 10 minutes, but given that the crowd will be filled with raucous Browns fans, it is hard to see Thomas being able to meet that suggestion.
The enshrinement ceremony will be televised by ESPN and the NFL Network. A limited number of tickets are still available on the hall’s website.