For the second straight year and fourth time since 2012, former Browns linebacker Clay Matthews is among the semifinalists to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Matthews, who starred in Cleveland from 1978-93 and was recently inducted into the Browns' Ring of Honor, is one of 25 vying to be included in the Class of 2020. Only five from Matthews' group of Modern-Era players will make the final cut.
Linebacker Carl Banks, who finished his career in Cleveland (1994-95) after starring for the Giants, was also among the semifinalists.
Matthews, considered one of the league's best linebackers and most durable players, played in 278 games — the 17th most in NFL history — and amassed 1,561 tackles over that span. Matthews was a three-time All Pro and received four Pro Bowl nods. His brother, offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. Matthews' son, Clay Matthews III, is an All-Pro linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams.
Matthews became the first player in team history to make the Ring of Honor without first being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While many have campaigned on his behalf, Matthews has remained modest about his Hall of Fame prospects.
"Gosh, I would love for that to happen. I just think it is something I am uncomfortable talking about because I realize anything I did as a player really required my teammates to be there," Matthews said in September. "Any height I reached, they helped me get there. I have really become aware of how important that is and how much I feel about that.'"
The group of 25 Modern-Era finalists will be reduced to 15 on Jan. 2, 2020. The finalists will then be presented to the 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee during its annual meeting on Feb. 1, 2020, the day before Super Bowl LIV. Later that evening, the five honorees will be announced as part of the NFL Honors awards special.
The Browns have placed 16 former players in the Hall of Fame, one of the highest totals of any team in league history.
Matthews will be honored during halftime of Cleveland's Week 3, Sunday Night Football matchup vs. Rams