2023 PFHOF Class Includes Browns’ Joe Thomas, 8 Others
Nine of the “Greatest of the Game” have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. The Hall’s 49-person Selection Committee met virtually Jan. 17 to conduct the annual vote.
The new class of Enshrinees was announced during “NFL Honors,” a two-hour primetime awards special that aired nationally tonight on NFL Network, NBC and Peacock. The newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are cornerback/safety RONDÉ BARBER, coach DON CORYELL, linebacker CHUCK HOWLEY, defensive end/defensive tackle/nose tackle JOE KLECKO, cornerback DARRELLE REVIS, cornerback KEN RILEY, offensive tackle JOE THOMAS, linebacker ZACH THOMAS and linebacker/defensive end DEMARCUS WARE.
Barber, Howley, Klecko, Revis, Joe Thomas, Zach Thomas and Ware learned of their election when a Hall of Famer knocked on their door. Those encounters can be seen Saturday, when NFL Network airs a one-hour special, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The families of Coryell and Riley received the news in a phone call that included Hall of Fame President Jim Porter and a Hall of Famer.
The annual selection meeting capped the year-round selection process. The newly elected Hall of Famers were chosen from a list of 19 Finalists who had been determined earlier by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee. Representatives of the accounting firm EY tabulated all votes throughout the process, including the virtual meeting.
The Class of 2023 will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 5, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Tickets for Enshrinement will go on sale in the coming weeks.
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2023
HOF Finalist: 3 | Year of Eligibility: 6
Ht: 5-10, Wt: 186
NFL Career: 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seasons: 16, Games: 241
Drafted: 3rd Round (66th overall), 1997
Born: April 7, 1975, in Montgomery County, Va.
Combined durability with productivity … Played in 241 regular-season games over 16 seasons … Started 215 consecutive regular-season games (224 counting postseason) … Finished career with 47 regular-season interceptions for 923 return yards and eight touchdowns — all Tampa Bay franchise records … Totaled 14 defensive and special teams touchdowns (8 INT, 4 FR and 2 on punt coverage units) … Twice intercepted three passes in a game and six times forced at least two turnovers in a game … NFL’s all-time leader in sacks for cornerback … Only player in NFL history with a least 45 interceptions and 25 sacks … Three-time All-Pro … Selected to five Pro Bowls … Member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Led NFL with 10 interceptions in 2001 … Led Buccaneers in interceptions six times … Voted team captain nine times … Buccaneers’ winner of Ed Block Courage Award in 2011 … Full name is Jamael Oronde Barber.
HOF Finalist: 7 | Year of Eligibility: 36
NFL Career: 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
Seasons: 14, Games: 195
Born: Oct. 17, 1924, in Seattle
Died: July 1, 2010, in Le Mesa, Calif.
Revived the St. Louis Cardinals (1973-77) and the San Diego Chargers (1978-1986), leading both franchises to the playoffs after extended postseason droughts … Posted overall winning records with each organization … AP’s NFL Coach of the Year in 1974 … UPI’s and PFWA’s NFC Coach of the Year in 1974 … PFWA’s AFC Coach of the Year in 1979 … Led the Cardinals to the 1974 and 1975 NFC East Division crowns … 1979-1981 San Diego Chargers earned AFC West Division titles … Known for his “Air Coryell” offensive strategy that would lead the league in passing yardage seven times in nine seasons … Won 100 games coaching at both the collegiate (127-24-3) and professional (114-89-1) levels … Future Pro Football Hall of Fame coaches Joe Gibbs and John Madden served as college assistants under him … Member of the College Football Hall of Fame … served in the U.S. Army.
HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 45
Ht: 6-3, Wt: 228
NFL Career: 1958-59 Chicago Bears, 1961-1973 Dallas Cowboys
Seasons: 15, Games: 180
College: West Virginia
Drafted: 1st Round (7th Overall), 1958
Born: June 28, 1936, in Wheeling, W. Va.
Three-time All-Southern Conference selection and conference Player of the Year in 1957 at West Virginia … Selected seventh overall in the 1958 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears … Retired after two seasons following what was considered a career-ending knee injury during training camp in 1959 … Decided to make a comeback in 1961 after appearing in a West Virginia alumni game … Traded to Dallas prior to the 1961 season … Named MVP of Super Bowl V, making Howley the first defensive player and first non-quarterback to win the award … Holds the distinction of also being the only player from a losing team to be named MVP of the Super Bowl … Finished his career with 25 interceptions and two touchdowns … Named to six Pro Bowls (1966-70, 1972) … First-team All-Pro five times (1966-70) … Second team All-Pro in 1971 … Named to the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1977.
HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 30
Position: Defensive End, Defensive Tackle, Nose Tackle
Ht: 6-3, Wt: 263
NFL Career: 1977-1987 New York Jets, 1988 Indianapolis Colts
Seasons: 12, Games: 155
Drafted: 6th Round (144th Overall), 1977
Born: Oct. 15, 1953, in Chester, Pa.
Selected 144th overall in the 1977 NFL Draft by the New York Jets … Teamed with Abdul Salaam, Mark Gastineau and Marty Lyons to form one of the top defensive lines in the NFL, known as the “New York Sack Exchange.” … Named UPI NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1981, leading the league with 20.5 sacks … First-team All-Pro honors twice (1981, 1985) … Named to four Pro-Bowl teams (1981, 1983-85) … After moving to nose tackle during the 1985 season, Klecko became the second player in NFL history (after Hall of Famer Frank Gifford) to be selected to the Pro Bowl at three different positions … One of only five Jets to have his jersey number (#73) retired, along with Dennis Byrd and Hall of Famers Joe Namath, Don Maynard and Curtis Martin … Inducted into the Temple University Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.
HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 1
Ht: 5-11, Wt: 198
NFL Career: 2007-2012, 2015-16 New York Jets, 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
2014 New England Patriots, 2017 Kansas City Chiefs
Seasons: 11, Games: 145
Drafted: 1st Round (14th Overall), 2007
Born: July 14, 1985, in Aliquippa, Pa.
Selected 14th overall in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the New York Jets … Started at cornerback all 16 games for the Jets during his rookie season, earning him a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie Team … Started at left cornerback for New England and had one sack and one solo tackle in the Patriots’ 28-24 win over Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX … First-team All-Pro honors four seasons (2009-2012) … Elected to participate in seven Pro Bowls (2009-2012, 2014-16) … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s … New York Jets’ team MVP in 2009 and 2011 … Finished his 11-year NFL career with 29 interceptions, with three returned for touchdowns, and 139 passes defensed. In 2009, led the NFL in passes defensed with 31 … Second in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2009.
HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 35
Ht: 5-11, Wt: 181
NFL Career: 1969-1983 Cincinnati Bengals
Seasons: 15, Games: 207
College: Florida A&M
Drafted: 6th Round (135th Overall), 1969
Born: Aug. 6, 1947, in Bartow, Fla.
Died: June 7, 2020, in Bartow, Fla.
Known by various nicknames – “The Rattler,” “Mr. Bengal” and “Mr. Consistency” … Selected by the Bengals in the 1969 AFL-NFL Draft after playing quarterback at Florida A&M … Converted to cornerback and played 15 NFL seasons over three decades (1969-1983) … Played in 207 NFL games, amassing 65 interceptions … Selected AP All-Pro in 1983 … Selected AP All-AFC in 1975, 1976 … Held or shared six Cincinnati team records through his final season with the Bengals … Led team in kickoff return yardage during his rookie season … Earned the AFC interception title in 1976, 1982, 1983 … Led the Bengals in interceptions seven times (1969, 1974-76, 1981-83) … Ranks fifth (tied with Charles Woodson) on the NFL’s career interceptions list … Described by Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown as “a model football player and a real gentleman. Youngsters would do well to pattern themselves after him.”
HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 1
Position: Offensive Tackle
Ht: 6-6, Wt: 312
NFL Career: 2007-2017 Cleveland Browns
Seasons: 11, Games: 167
Drafted: 1st Round (3rd Overall), 2007
Born: Dec. 4, 1984, in Brookfield, Wisc.
Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s top interior lineman and a consensus All-American following his senior season at Wisconsin … Selected third overall in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns … Started at left tackle all 16 games for the Browns his rookie season, finishing second in AP Offensive Rookie of the Year voting to Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson … Known for his agility, strength and durability, he played an NFL record 10,363 consecutive snaps – a streak that ended Oct. 22, 2017, after suffering a triceps tear against the Tennessee Titans … Allowed only 30 sacks in his remarkable career, despite facing several Hall of Fame sack specialists and many team’s top pass rushers … Was the first offensive lineman in NFL history named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first 10 seasons … First-team All-Pro honors six seasons (2009-2011, 2013-15) and second-team All-Pro twice (2008, 2012) … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s … Well-known for his involvement in the community, he was selected as the Cleveland Browns’ Walter Payton Man of the Year three times (2010, 2012, 2016).
HOF Finalist: 4 | Year of Eligibility: 10
Ht: 5-11, Wt: 235
NFL Career: 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
Seasons: 13, Games: 184
College: Texas Tech
Drafted: 5th Round (154th Overall), 1996
Born: Sept. 1, 1973, in Pampa, Texas
Versatile and instinctive middle linebacker who made immediate impact … Intercepted three passes for 64 yards, one touchdown and 131 tackles, 49 assisted tackles and two sacks to earn team’s MVP honors and named AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year, 1996 … Led Dolphins in tackles 10 seasons … Racked up 100 tackles in each of his first 11 seasons … Amassed 22 tackles (14 solo) in 2001 playoff game versus Baltimore Ravens … Set Dolphins’ career record with four interceptions returned for touchdowns … Career statistics include 17 interceptions for 170 yards … Registered 20.5 career sacks … His 168 starts were most by a Dolphins’ defensive player … First player in team history to win Leadership Award (voted by teammates) three times … First-team All-Pro five times (1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006); second-team All-Pro twice (2001, 2005) … Voted to seven Pro Bowls.
HOF Finalist: 2 | Year of Eligibility: 2
Position: Linebacker/Defensive End
Ht: 6-4, Wt: 258
NFL Career: 2005-2013 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-16 Denver Broncos
Seasons: 12, Games: 178
College: Troy State
Drafted: 1st Round (11th Overall), 2005
Born: July 31, 1982, in Auburn, Ala.
Entered the NFL in 2005 as an underdog with something to prove – started all 16 games at right outside linebacker and amassed 58 tackles and a team-best eight sacks … Led the Cowboys in sacks for eight seasons, 2005-2012 … Led the NFL with 20 sacks (2008) and 15.5 sacks (2010) … Played on only one team with a losing record during his career and helped lead his teams to five playoff appearances … Started at weakside linebacker in the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 victory over the Carolina Panthers, amassing three solo tackles and two assists, two sacks and four hits on the quarterback … Career stats: 138.5 sacks, intercepted three passes for 44 return yards and one touchdown and also returned two fumbles for touchdowns … Still holds the Cowboys’ career sacks record with 117 … Voted first-team All-Pro four times (2007-09, 2011); second-team All-Pro three times (2006, 2010, 2012) … Selected to nine Pro Bowls (2007-2013, 2015-16) … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
The Coach/Contributor and Senior Finalists were voted “yes” or “no” for election at the annual selection meeting and needed at least 80% support from the Committee to be elected. The Modern-Era Finalists were trimmed during the meeting from 15 to 10, then from 10 to five. They, too, had to receive the same 80% positive vote as the Coach/Contributor and Senior Finalists when they were voted “yes” or “no” to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame’s membership, including the newly elected Class of 2023, now stands at 371.