Cincinnati Bengals legend Ken Riley is now one step away from getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
On Wednesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that Riley is one of three senior finalists for the 2023 class.
The Hall of Fame’s full Selection Committee will consider Riley for election — along with 15 modern-era players and a coach/contributor — when it meets to choose the entire Class of 2023 in January. Riley will be elected to the Hall if he receives at least 80% approval in the up-or-down balloting (go here for more details).
Here’s a statement from Bengals owner Mike Brown.
Ken Riley has moved to the final step in the selection process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023!— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) August 17, 2022
Riley, who played on the Bengals’ 1981 Super Bowl team, still ranks in the NFL’s top five for career interceptions with 65 and was a three-time All-Pro, despite the fact he was a college quarterback at Florida A&M University.
Drafted by the Bengals in their second-ever draft class in 1969, Riley was the team’s sixth-round pick (135th overall). Paul Brown converted Riley from quarterback to cornerback in his first training camp, and he went on to become one of the best defensive backs the league has ever seen.
Riley would play in 207 games across 15 years before retiring in 1983 with the fourth-most interceptions in NFL history at the time. Only Hall of Famer Rod Woodson has surpassed him since then.
Riley passed away at the age of 72 in June of 2020. He’s since been inducted into the Bengals Ring of Honor and is now on the verge of reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Back in 2021, our own Dadio Makdook spoke with Riley’s son, Ken Riley II, about his father’s induction into the Bengals Ring of Honor, which you can see here.
So happy for @KenRileyFounda1 fam!— Bengal Jim’s BTR (@bengaljims_BTR) August 17, 2022
Unbelievable job by the #bengals,
all their work on this, AND you the fan… the fans that supported #JungleToTheHall & our legends on social media! YOU HAD A VOICE IN MAKING THIS HAPPEN!
8:00 tonight we celebrate & talk about what’s next! pic.twitter.com/srmDmMwRES