Clay Matthews Jr – a Hall of Fame career
19 years in the NFL at one of the most physical positions is quite a spectacular achievement. Particularly when you were drafted in 1978. Playing in three decades and finishing up in 1996 when quite frankly, football was a different game.
Clay Matthews Jr played at linebacker for 12 or more games in 16 seasons. He played 15 or 16 games in 13 seasons. The dad of the long-haired Packers icon was a stalwart in Cleveland before finishing his career in Atlanta.
Matthews made 1595 tackles and had 69.5 sacks – not bad when sacks weren’t counted for the first four years of his career. Imagine how many he could have had at his youngest. In his career year in 1984, he totalled 12 sacks.
What’s more, Matthews’ 1595 tackles is more than Ray Lewis’ 1568. Lewis is the official leader as stats only date back to 1994. Had the category covered all of his career, he would top the list.
Clay Matthews knew how to make a big play too, with 16 picks, forcing 27 fumbles and recovering 14. He finished his career with four Pro Bowls in the late eighties and a Second Team All Pro appearance. Perhaps his best accolades came later in his career though. Matthews earned a spot on the 1980s All Decade team by Pro Football Reference. Not only that, after his career, Matthews was inducted into the Browns’ Ring of Honour for his 16 years of service.
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