The 2023 Class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame was announced last week, and we applaud all the new inductees.
We are especially pleased for the three Senior Candidates—Joe Klecko, Chuck Howley and the late Ken Riley—and the late Coach Don Coryell for finally receiving the Hall of Fame recognition they richly deserve.
Joe Klecko, a member of the Jets famed Sack Exchange at three different positions in the 1980s, was a four-time Pro Bowler and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1981. His last season was 1988 and he had to wait a long time to get that knock on his door. “It was an awesome wait, but it is also a relief that it’s over,” Klecko said after he was named. “The best part may have been that Jets legend Joe Namath was the one who came to my house to tell me I was joining him in the Hall. It’s a great feeling.”
Roger Staubach was asked to deliver the good news to his former Cowboys teammate Chuck Howley and Staubach gladly accepted the responsibility. The 86-year old Howley last played 50 years ago in 1973. He was so beloved by everyone in Dallas that, as one former Cowboys official noted, “Heck, even Tex (Schramm) liked Chuck and that’s saying a lot.” Schramm, the original team president and general manager, was especially hard-nosed at the bargaining table at contract time as many of you former Cowboys can attest.
The late Ken Riley died in 2020 before he received this Hall of Fame recognition. The outstanding Bengals cornerback now will have his bust near his former teammate Anthony Munoz’s bust in Canton. They played their entire NFL careers in Cincinnati. It was Munoz who called Riley’s family to tell them to pack their bags for the trip to the Hall this summer.
Finally, many of you played for Don Coryell either when he coached the Cardinals in St. Louis or the Chargers in San Diego. Dan Fouts, who was Coryell’s quarterback with the Chargers for nine years and who lobbied heavily for his coach to get into Canton, called Coryell’s family with the good news. “Coach was an offensive innovator who showed other teams you could win by throwing the ball,” Fouts says. “His system was not complicated. Rather, it was simplistic in its approach, and he always was so positive in teaching it to his staff and players. The Hall of Fame voters finally got it right in putting the Coach into the Hall.”
The Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend is August 3-6 this summer. We hope to see many of you there to help celebrate all our new Hall of Fame brothers.