Browns to induct Clay Matthews Jr. into Ring of Honor

Former LB becomes the first non-Hall of Famer to receive the honor

Daryl Ruiter
July 31, 2019 - 5:34 pm

© RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports


Berea, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Clay Matthews Jr. has yet to receive his due with a call from the Hall of Fame in Canton but the Browns plan to honor on the former linebacker anyway.

Matthews will be added to the ‘Ring of Honor’ at FirstEnergy Stadium this fall, becoming the first non-Hall of Famer to be added to the list of 16 already enshrined.

General manager John Dorsey called Matthews earlier this summer to inform him of the team’s plans.

“I was honored,” Matthews said. “I mean, the Browns have a pretty good legacy of players in that group. We lived through that generation of players mostly in the 60s who were so successful, and to be included in that group is just an honor.”

Matthews has been a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame three times, including this past year.

“To me it was a no-brainer,” Dorsey said. “That guy symbolizes everything it means to be a Cleveland Brown. Respect and honor for the game of professional football. His passion for the game. I can't wait to meet him when we do this against the Los Angeles Rams. It will be special for him.

“The coolest thing was when we called him up and let him know what we were doing in regards to his day, I got a little nervous because it was Clay Matthews Jr. and he was one of those guys I personally looked up to and thought was an exceptional football player in his era. I've always been taught if you dominate the league during a decade you should definitely be going into the Canton Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Matthews played in 278 games – ranked 21st in NFL history – and racked up 1,561 tackles in his 19-year NFL career.

The three-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler will be honored during halftime of the Browns’ Week 3 matchup against Matthews’ son, Clay III, and the Los Angeles Rams, which will be played on NBC’s Sunday night football.

“With that platform, gosh,” Matthews said. “To honor me at the platform and with that going on and having him here, I'm just honored. I'm honored by the Haslam family and the folks who think I'm worthy of doing it.”

The Browns selected Matthews 12th overall in the 1978 NFL Draft. He was a centerpiece of five AFC Central championship and three AFC runner-up teams in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

With the additions of Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb, Olivier Vernon, Sheldon Richardson and Greedy Williams, Dorsey has the Browns poised to return to the glory years Matthews was a centerpiece of some three decades ago.

“It seems like they're doing a pretty good job of picking talent around there, so I'm going to ride that wave,” Matthews said. “The Browns, even though they had a little hiccup for a while when the team went away and came back, that's what you think of when you think of the NFL. At least for myself growing up, the Browns, Packers, Bears, those type of teams that were there from long ago. To be included at this level is just a huge honor.”

During his 16 seasons with the Browns (1978-93), Matthews had 76.5 sacks, 1,430 total tackles, 14 interceptions, 24 forced fumbles and 13 recoveries.

The game, and now ceremony, will mean a return to Cleveland for Matthews and his family.

“We'll have them all there,” Matthews said. “They love their time back here. All of them talk about it. Heck, they'd come back even if I wasn't honored.

“It was just a great experience. The only thing lacking was getting completely over the top and winning the Super Bowl, but we're heading in the right direction.”

On Tuesday the Browns announced plans to erect an Otto Graham statue on the southwest corner of FirstEnergy Stadium, to be unveiled Sept. 7.