Offensive tackle Joe Thomas and cornerback Darrelle Revis were named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in their first year on the ballot.
Here's the entire Class of 2023:
- Linebacker DeMarcus Ware
- Linebacker Zach Thomas
- Cornerback Ronde Barber
- Defensive lineman Joe Klecko
- Cornerback Ken Riley
- Linebacker Chuck Howley
- Coach Don Coryell
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It doesn’t come as a surprise that Thomas made it in, as he was a clear favorite to be voted in after securing 10 Pro Bowls over his career with the Cleveland Browns. He’s a six-time, first-team All-Pro selection, making him one of the most accomplished players in the group of finalists.
Thomas played all 11 of his seasons with the Browns, though many remember him as a legendary player that never got to the playoffs. Cleveland had a winning record just once during his time there, finishing 10-6 during the 2007 season.
Revis made an immediate impact for the New York Jets, as his coverage skills became legendary and went down as some of the best in NFL history.
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A seven-time Pro Bowler, Revis was a four-time first-team All-Pro during his 11-year career that began in New York. The Jets drafted Revis 14th overall out of Pitt, and he immediately brought that “Revis Island” energy to the secondary.
Revis ended up playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for one season after leaving the Jets, and then in 2014, he was able to win a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. Revis would return to the Jets for two more seasons in 2015 and 2016 before ending his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017.
Thomas and Revis join Calvin Johnson as members in Canton that were drafted in the top 14 of their respective class.
The rest of the Class of 2023 are more than worthy recipients of having their busts in Canton:
– DeMarcus Ware: The legendary Dallas Cowboys defensive end racked up 138.5 sacks over his career, 117 of them coming in “Jerry’s World.” Ware made it to nine Pro Bowls, including seven straight for the Cowboys and two more with the Denver Broncos, where he spent his last three seasons.
– Ken Riley: For 15 seasons, Riley was a lockdown cornerback for the Cincinnati Bengals, totaling 65 interceptions and five of them returned for six points. In 1976, Riley had nine picks in 14 games. In his final season in 1983, Riley truly left it all out on the field, accumulating eight interceptions, two returned for a touchdown, which earned him first-team All-Pro honors – the first of his career.
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– Chuck Howley: A six-time Pro Bowler and five-time first-team All-Pro, Howley started his career with the Chicago Bears, but made his mark as a Cowboy. From 1966-1971, he was one of the best linebackers in the game, winning Super Bowl MVP in 1970.
– Ronde Barber: The twin brother of former running back Tiki spent his entire 16-year career with the Buccaneers. He was selected to the All-2000s Team, led the NFL in interceptions in 2001, and made five All-Pro teams in his career. He won Super Bowl XXXVII and holds the NFL record for the most consecutive starts by a defensive back with 215.
– Joe Klecko: The New York Jets legend made the Pro Bowl at three different positions, and many feel his induction into Canton is long overdue. A member of the New York Sack Exchange, he was a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. He led the NFL in sacks in 1981, the same year he won the Defensive Player of the Year.
– Zach Thomas: Thomas was a First-team All-Pro five times in his 13 NFL seasons. He twice led the NFL in tackles and made seven Pro Bowls, wreaking havoc alongside Jason Taylor for 11 years. A former fifth-round pick is now getting a bust in the Hall of Fame.
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– Don Coryell: Coryell revolutionized the game with his offensive mind, and he won three straight division titles with the San Diego Chargers. Dan Fouts said he owed his career to the now Hall of Fame coach, who had been a finalist six previous times. Despite a lack of success in the playoffs, Air Coryell is still famous in the game of football.