Per Pro Football Hall of Fame
CANTON, OHIO – Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko and Ken Riley have moved to the final step in the selection process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.
A meeting of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee concluded Tuesday afternoon with Howley, Klecko and Riley emerging from the group of 12 Seniors remaining under consideration as Finalists for next year’s class of enshrinees. That list at one point numbered 127 former players whose careers ended no later than the 1996 season.
The Hall of Fame’s full Selection Committee will consider Howley, Klecko and Riley for election – along with 15 Modern-Era Players and a Coach/Contributor – when it meets to choose the entire Class of 2023 in January. Each of the Seniors Finalists would be elected to the Hall if he receives at least 80% approval in the up-or-down balloting.
Several of the 12 remaining candidates for the Class of 2023 discussed Tuesday have been eligible for the Hall of Fame for more than 40 years, including Howley, who first played in the National Football League in 1958. His son Scott called the news “fantastic” for his dad.
Riley played his entire 15-year career (1969-1983) at cornerback for the Cincinnati Bengals. A quarterback in college, he adapted to his new position as a pro remarkably quickly, intercepting four passes as a rookie.
He would record at least one interception each season, finishing with 65 for his career – still the fifth-highest (tied) total in NFL history and ranked second to “Night Train” Lane’s 68 for defensive backs who played exclusively at corner. Known for both his cover skills and ability to support run defenses, he played 207 games and remained productive in his final season: eight interceptions, two that he returned for touchdowns, and a spot on the AP All-Pro first team.
Riley passed away at age 72 in 2020. His son, Ken Riley II, responded to the news of his father advancing in the process with great joy.
“Oh, wow! Really? That is awesome,” he said to Porter. “I told (my father), ‘One day, you’re going to do it.’”
The other nine players the Seniors Committee discussed at its meeting were Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Randy Gradishar, Cecil Isbell, Bob Kuechenberg, Eddie Meador, Tommy Nobis, Sterling Sharpe and Everson Walls.
STATEMENT FROM BENGALS PRESIDENT MIKE BROWN ON KEN RILEY
Ken Riley has moved to the final step in the selection process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.
Statement from Bengals President Mike Brown:
“This is long deserved. It is unfortunate Kenny is gone because we know how much he would have appreciated this. His family is surely pleased at this news. Kenny was a splendid player and still holds the Bengals record for most interceptions over a career. It would be a wonderful thing if he were selected for the Hall of Fame.”