Clay Matthews, Josh Cribbs and Eric Metcalf are among the numerous Browns being considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2020 class.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its initial list of 122 modern era nominees Thursday, the first step in the four-part process that will culminate the weekend of Super Bowl LIV.
The modern era players list will be reduced to 25 in November and 15 in early January 2020. The 2020 class will be a unique one, as the Hall of Fame plans to include 20 members -- a group made up of five modern era players, 10 Seniors (a player who has been retired for more than 25 seasons), three contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two coaches.
Matthews has been through this process many times before and has been a semifinalist on multiple occasions. The longtime Browns linebacker will be inducted into the Browns’ Ring of Honor during halftime of next week’s game against the Rams. He’ll be the first member inducted without first receiving the same distinction from the Hall of Fame.
Cribbs, the popular do-it-all return man, made the list in his first year of eligibility. Cribbs made the Pro Bowl three times during his Browns career, which spanned from 2005-2012, and finished tied for third in NFL history with 13,488 career return yards, third in kickoff return yards (11,113) and fifth in career return touchdowns (11).
Running backs Earnest Byner and Eric Metcalf are among the numerous repeat members on the list.
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.
Metcalf spent the first six seasons of his NFL career, providing a true dual threat out of the backfield and on special teams. He amassed 2,229 rushing yards, 2,732 receiving yards and a combined 26 touchdowns on offense and had another seven touchdowns on kick and punt returns during that period. He made the Pro Bowl in 1993 and 1994.
Linebacker Carl Banks finished his 12-year career in Cleveland, starting 31 games in 1994-95. The majority of his career was spent with the New York Giants.
Offensive lineman Lomas Brown appeared in 10 games for the 1999 expansion Browns. He logged 18 seasons in the NFL and made seven Pro Bowls.
Linebacker Willie McGinest finished his 15-year career with the Browns, logging three seasons with the team from 2006-08 and making 38 starts.
Jeff Garcia and Jake Delhomme were among the seven quarterbacks nominated for this year’s class. Garcia spent the 2004 season in Cleveland and started 10 games while Delhomme appeared in five games in 2010.
Linebacker Chris Spielman spent the preseason with the 1999 Browns but retired before the start of the regular season because of a neck injury.