Former Cleveland Browns linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. has been named as a finalist to become a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with 14 other candidates. In no small due to the relentless efforts of his daughter, Jennifer, to raise awareness of her father's outstanding career, this is the first time Matthews has been this far in the process.
Unfortunately, the field is stacked and it will be difficult for Matthews to be inducted.
The field includes former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, then Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers defensive back Charles Woodson, both of which appear to be automatic, which only leaves a handful of spots for Matthews to take.
The rest of the group includes former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, former then St. Louis Rams wide receiver Torry Holt, former Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler, former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli, former New England Patriots and Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour, former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, former New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers linebacker Sam Mills, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Broncos safety John Lynch, former Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca and former Bucs corner Ronde Barber.
Matthews played 16 seasons with the Browns and three with the Atlanta Falcons and the biggest thing that hurts his case is a lack of keeping stats. The NFL didn't keep tackles as an official stat during his career and sacks were kept as a stat starting in 1982.