Former Browns linebacker Clay Matthews is among the 26 semifinalists being considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012. Matthews has advanced to the list of semifinalists for the first time, the Hall of Fame announced today.
Matthews played for the Browns from 1978-1993. He is the franchise's leader in games played (232) and sacks (76.5).
Matthews, whom the Browns picked in the first round (12th overall) of the 1978 NFL Draft, was selected to the Pro Bowl four times (1986, 1988-90). He played for the Atlanta Falcons from 1994-96 before retiring.
The list of 26 semifinalists will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists, and the results of the voting will be announced in early January. That list will increase to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee: cornerback Jack Butler, Pittsburgh Steelers (1951-59); and guard Dick Stanfel, Detroit Lions (1952-55) and Washington Redskins (1956-58).
Here is the complete list of the 26 modern-era semifinalists: