The first day of practice for the defending AFC champions coincided with another big moment in Bengaldom Wednesday when the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Bengals legends Ken Anderson and Ken Riley are among the final 12 candidates in the senior category.
The Seniors Committee meets virtually Aug. 16 to select up to three Seniors who automatically go into the finals for the Class of 2023 in a meeting that takes place early next year.
Riley and Anderson have been here before along with several of the 12. But it's the first time in the revised seniors voting format that now consists of an expanded committee of 12 that has publicly unveiled the finals list. Also for the first time, when the committee meets next month each member is assigned to present the case of one of the finalists before the vote.
Anderson, the only quarterback to win four NFL passing titles not in the Hall of Fame, and Riley, who still has the second most interceptions of all-time since he retired in 1983, have had two of the strongest cases for years in the finals deliberations
But so have some others on the finals list of 12 that includes All-Decade defensive players Tommy Nobis and Eddie Meador, nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker Maxie Baughan, six-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Bob Kuchenberg and linebacker Chuck Howley, the only player on a losing team to be voted the Most Valuable Player in a Super Bowl.
The other ten finalists:
- Maxie Baughan: Linebacker for the Eagles (1960-65), the Rams (1966-1970) and Washington (1974) while going to nine Pro Bowls.
- Randy Gradishar: Linebacker who played all 10 seasons (1974-83) in Denver while going to seven Pro Bowls.
- Chuck Howley: Linebacker named to six Pro Bowls and five first-team All-Pros while playing for the Bears (1958-59) and Cowboys (1961-1973).
- Cecil Isbell: Tailback for five years with the pre-war Packers (1938-1942) and went to four Pro Bowls.
- Joe Klecko: Played up and down the defensive line for the Jets' "New York Sack Exchange," (1977-88) and went to four Pro Bowls and named to two first-team All-Pros.
- Bob Kuechenberg: Guard and tackle who played all 14 seasons (1970-84) with the Dolphins in a run that included the 1972 undefeateds.
- Eddie Meador: Cornerback and member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1960s who finished his 12-year career (1959-70) with a Rams-record 46 interceptions.
- Tommy Nobis: Linebacker who was the first player in Falcons history and spent his entire career (1966-76) in Atlanta while named the NFL Rookie of the Year, a five-time Pro Bowler and an All-Decade player of the 1960s.
- Sterling Sharpe: Wide receiver who spent seven seasons (1988-94) with the Packers going to five Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro teams.
- Everson Walls: Cornerback who played 13 seasons (1981-93) with the Cowboys, Giants and Browns and led the NFL in interceptions three times while going to four Pro Bowls and being named to three All-Pro teams in amassing 57 interceptions.
View some of the best photos of the two newest inductees of the Bengals Ring of Honor, quarterback Ken Anderson and cornerback Ken Riley.
The cases for Riley and Anderson hold up well on that list. Riley's 65 career interceptions from 1969-83 are the most by anyone not in the Hall of Fame and fifth all time. When Anderson retired after a Bengals record 16 seasons (1971-86), he was the NFL's all-time completion percentage leader for a season, a postseason career and a game with more than 20 attempts.
The senior nominees advance to the Hall finals with the Modern Era candidates in a meeting that traditionally takes place the day before the Super Bowl. At that meeting, each player needs 80 percent of the vote of the full 49-member selection committee for induction. Bengals.com is a member of the selection committee.