PHOENIX — The Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed nine new members on Thursday night, as the Class of 2023 was announced during the “NFL Honors” show.
Offensive lineman Joe Thomas, cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Ronde Barber, defensive lineman DeMarcus Ware, linebacker Zach Thomas, cornerback Ken Riley, defensive lineman Joe Klecko, linebacker Chuck Howley and coach Don Coryell were elected to Pro Football’s shrine.
The Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee, consisting of 49 members, considered 15 modern era finalists, three seniors and one coach/contributor.
The new members will be inducted into the Hall on Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio.
Joe Thomas, 38, was a six-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection at left tackle for the Cleveland Browns from 2007 to 2017. He was the Browns’ No. 1 pick -- and third overall -- in the 2007 NFL draft out of the University of Wisconsin.
Revis, 37, was a true shutdown cornerback who played for the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs from 2007 to 2017.
He called the area that he defended “Revis Island,” a credit to his 29 interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He also recovered 12 fumbles.
According to a Bleacher Report story in 2012, “When an opposing wide receiver lands on ‘Revis Island,’ he has as much chance of getting off the island as Gilligan and the Skipper did on ‘Gilligan’s Island.’”
Revis won a Super Bowl with the Patriots during the 2014 season.
Barber, 47, played his entire 16-year career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A five-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time All-Pro, Barber becomes the fifth defensive member of the Bucs to gain election to the Hall of Fame. He joins Lee Roy Selmon (1995) and longtime teammates Warren Sapp (2013), Derrick Brooks (2014) and John Lynch (2021).
Barber made 47 regular-season interceptions and returned eight of them for touchdowns. He made two interceptions in the postseason, but his biggest was a 92-yard return for a touchdown against Philadelphia that clinched the Bucs’ first Super Bowl berth.
Barber was a finalist for the third time.
Ware, 40, was a defensive end who played from 2005 to 2016 with the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos. He registered 138.5 sacks and led the league twice with 20 in 2008 and 2010.
He had three interceptions and recovered eight fumbles, returning two for touchdowns. Ware also led the league in tackles for loss three times, including a career-high 27 in 2008. He was a Pro Bowl selection for seven straight years and was named an All-Pro four times.
Zach Thomas, 49, was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time All-Pro during his years with the Miami Dolphins (1996-2007). He finished his career in Dallas in 2008.
He joins Nick Buoniconti and Junior Seau as the only Miami linebackers to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Buoniconti spent the last seven seasons of his career with the Dolphins and won a pair of Super Bowls, and Seau played three seasons in Miami.
Riley, Klecko and Howley were chosen from the seniors category.
Riley, who died in 2020, was a cornerback who played all 15 of his seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1969 to 1983. He intercepted 65 passes and returned five of them for touchdowns.
Riley is tied for fifth all-time in interceptions -- only Hall of Famer Dick “Night Train’' Lane had more as a player who spent his career entirely at cornerback -- but he was never named to the Pro Bowl, ESPN reported.
Riley, who starred at Florida A&M University, returned to coach at his alma mater after his pro career ended.
Klecko, 69, was a rugged defensive lineman who helped anchor the New York Jets’ “Sack Exchange” from 1977 to 1987. He had 78 career sacks and registered 20.5 during the 1981 season. He finished second in The Associated Press defensive player of the year balloting that year behind the Giants’ Lawrence Taylor.
He was a four-time All-Pro and recovered nine fumbles. Klecko finished his 12-season career in 1988 with the Indianapolis Colts.
Howley, 86, who played linebacker for the Chicago Bears (1958-59) and the Dallas Cowboys (1961-73) remains the only Super Bowl MVP from a losing team. He intercepted two passes in the Dallas Cowboys’ 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V.
He also recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass the following season, when Dallas won its first Super Bowl in a convincing 24-3 victory against the Miami Dolphins. He was a five-time All-Pro and was named to the Pro Bowl six times.
Coryell was elected from the coaches/contributors category.
He was the architect of the “Air Coryell” offense with the Chargers. With the Cardinals, Coryell was named The Associated Press coach of the year in 1974, leading St. Louis to a 10-4 record. He followed that up with an 11-5 mark in 1975, which was a franchise record at the time.
With the Chargers, Coryell teamed with future Hall of Famers Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow to put together one of the NFL’s most potent offenses. During his nine seasons in San Diego, Coryell’s teams led the league in total offense five times and reached the AFC Championship Game for the 1980 and 1981 seasons.
Coryell, who died in 2010, had a 111-83 record as a pro coach.