First-time Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists Joe Thomas and Darrelle Revis lead the nine-member Class of 2023 that will be inducted in Canton, Ohio, in August.
The results of voting were announced Thursday night during the NFL Honors show in Phoenix. Players needed 80 percent approval from the Selection Committee, which met online this week.
The class also includes three finalists from the Seniors category: Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko and Ken Riley, along with Don Coryell, a finalist in the coach/contributor category.
Also elected were DeMarcus Ware, Ronde Barber and Zach Thomas. It was Ware’s second year as a finalist, Barber’s third and Zach Thomas’ fourth.
Joe Thomas was an offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns from 2007 to 2017.
He thanked Browns fans on Thursday in a message on Twitter.
“I could not have done it without you guys,” he said. “Eleven beautiful years in Cleveland, not always full of a lot of wins, but always a lot of pride in the city, in the team, and you guys were a huge part of that journey. Absolutely could not have done it without you.”
Thank you for everything, Cleveland. See you in Canton! pic.twitter.com/24pV7uG3kR
— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) February 10, 2023
Revis, a cornerback, played two stints with the New York Jets and one each with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs from 2007 to 2017.
In a group gathering with the other new Hall of Famers on Thursday night, Revis said, “I’m a big fan of everybody here. I think we’re all GOATs. Everybody has a special skill set here. I think everyone worked very hard and was very passionate to get to this point to be Hall of Famers. And now it’s time to say thanks to everybody who helped you along the way.”
Howley, a linebacker, played two seasons for the Chicago Bears and 13 for the Dallas Cowboys in a career that ended in 1973.
Klecko spent 11 years with the Jets and a final season with the Indianapolis Colts in 1988.
“It’s us. It’s all about us,” Klecko told the New York Post after learning of his election. “I was all for the fans, you know that. And I always wanted to win for the fans. I always stayed after for ’em. And I want them to enjoy it along with me because of the loyalty of Jets fans. They stuck with us through thick and thin, and I appreciate them.
“And I want them to be able to understand that along with being Joe Klecko in the Hall of Fame, that it is also Joe Klecko of the New York Jets in the Hall of Fame. And Jet fans are included in that.”
Riley, elected posthumously, spent his entire 15-season career with the Bengals, from 1969 to 1983.
Coryell was a head coach for 14 seasons, first with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1973 to 1977 and then from 1978 to 1986 as the architect of “Air Coryell” for the San Diego Chargers.
Ware, a linebacker/defensive end, played for the Cowboys and Denver Broncos in a career that ran from 2005 to 2016. Barber spent his entire 16-season career with the Buccaneers, 1997-2012.
Zach Thomas played 13 seasons, the first 12 with the Miami Dolphins before finishing with the Cowboys in 2008.
He said in a statement released by the Dolphins, “I am truly honored and humbled to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Growing up in Texas, I dreamed of playing football at any level. To have played at Texas Tech and then be drafted by the Dolphins was the ultimate. It was indeed a dream come true. I want to thank my family for all the sacrifices they made for me over the years.”
–Field Level Media