Ex-Falcon Clay Matthews a finalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Atlanta Falcons' Clay Matthews (57) celebrates after intercepting a pass from Miami Dolphins' quarterback Dan Marino during fourth quarter action in Miami, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 3, 1995. (AP Photo/Hans Deryk)

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Atlanta Falcons' Clay Matthews (57) celebrates after intercepting a pass from Miami Dolphins' quarterback Dan Marino during fourth quarter action in Miami, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 3, 1995. (AP Photo/Hans Deryk)

Former Falcons linebacker Clay Matthews Jr., who played for the team from 1994-96, was named as a modern-era player finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 on Tuesday.

Matthews, who played at USC, spent most of his career with the Cleveland Browns (1978-93). It’s his first time being named a finalist.

Matthews is the uncle of Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews.

Georgia Tech standout Calvin Johnson and Georgia standout Richard Seymour both were named as part of the 15 modern-era player finalists.

First-year eligible players are Johnson, defensive end Jared Allen, quarterback Peyton Manning and cornerback/safety Charles Woodson. Two others — cornerback/safety Ronde Barber and Matthews — have been eligible for the Hall of Fame previously, but this year marks their first time as finalists.

The 15 modern-era player finalists will be considered for election to the Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets virtually Jan. 19. The full committee will elect up to five modern-era players, who must receive a minimum positive vote of 80% for election. Three others — Tom Flores, Bill Nunn and Drew Pearson, the finalists in the coach, contributor and senior categories, respectively — also are candidates for the Class of 2021.

Voting on each will be held individually, in conjunction with the meeting to decide the Modern-Era Player Finalists.

The modern-era player finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s selection committee from a list of 130 nominees named in September that was reduced to 25 semifinalists Nov. 24.

The 2021 modern-era player finalists with their positions, years and teams:

· Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-13 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers

· Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

· Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)

· LeRoy Butler, Safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers

· Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals

· Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars

· Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver – 2007-15 Detroit Lions

· John Lynch, Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos

· Peyton Manning, Quarterback – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts (injured reserve 2011), 2012-15 Denver Broncos

· Clay Matthews Jr., Linebacker – 1978-93 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Falcons

· Sam Mills, Linebacker – 1986-94 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers

· Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-12 Oakland Raiders

· Zach Thomas, Linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys

· Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-14 Indianapolis Colts

· Charles Woodson, Cornerback/Safety – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-12 Green Bay Packers

Falcons’ 2021 draft position

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

2. New York Jets

3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston)

4. Falcons

5. Cincinnati Bengals

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