Clay Matthews Jr. a semifinalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame for 3rd straight year, 5th overall

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Clay Matthews Jr. has once again advanced in his bid to head to Canton.

The former Browns linebacker was named a semifinalist for the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class on Tuesday, marking the third straight year, and fifth time overall, that Matthews has reached the list of 25 semifinalists.

Matthews also reached the semifinal round in 2014 and 2017 but has never been named a finalist and come up for vote on Super Bowl Saturday.

Matthews was selected by the Browns 12th overall in the 1978 draft before turning into one of the best linebackers and most durable players in league history.

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

Matthews played in 278 games — the the most by a linebacker in NFL history, started 248 games at linebacker — the most by a linebacker in league history, where he amassed 1,561 tackles — third-most in league history and finished his career with 83.5 sacks 27 forced fumbles. 14 fumble recoveries and 16 interceptions.

He was a three-time All Pro and received four Pro Bowl nods.

Matthews is the first and only non-Hall of Famer to be inducted into the Browns’ Ring of Honor at FirstEnergy Stadium.