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Earnest Byner, Clay Matthews among 108 modern-era Hall of Fame nominees

Posted Sep 13, 2017

Ten with Browns ties make the list

Former Browns Earnest Byner and Clay Matthews were among the 108 modern-era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2018 class.

The Hall of Fame announced the nominees late Tuesday. Ten of the 108 -- Byner, Matthews, Lomas Brown, Michael Dean Perry, Marty Schottenheimer, Mark Bavaro, Jay Hilgenberg, Carl Banks, Willie McGinest, Everson Walls and Bill Cowher -- have Browns ties.

Matthews, the former linebacker who starred for the Browns from 1978 to 1993, has been a semifinalist for the Hall of Fame twice since he became eligible in 2002, the same year he became a Browns Legend. He made the cut to 25 in 2012 and 2016.

Byner played the first five of his 14 NFL seasons with the Browns and returned for the 1994 and 1995 seasons. Paired alongside Kevin Mack, Byner had 2,713 rushing yards and 2,034 receiving yards for the Browns from 1984-88. He finished his career with 8,261 rushing yards, 4,605 receiving yards and 71 touchdowns.

Perry played seven of his 11 seasons with the Browns. He was a first-team All Pro in 1989 and 1990 and earned Pro Bowl nods in five of his seven years in Cleveland. He finished his career with 61 sacks.

Schottenheimer was with the Browns from 1980 to 1988, serving as a defensive coordinator for the first four seasons and the head coach from midway through the 1984 season until the end of his run in Cleveland. He led the Browns to two appearances in the AFC Championship, three AFC Central titles and a 44-27 overall record.

Brown, Bavaro, Hilgenberg, Banks, McGinest and Walls spent the latter portions of their respective careers with the Browns. Cowher, the longtime Steelers coach, was an assistant with the Browns under Schottenheimer and played for the team in the early 80s.

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