After a long wait, former Jets defensive star Joe Klecko is one step closer to being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Klecko was one of three Senior finalists named to the Hall of Fame Wednesday afternoon. Chuck Howley, a former outside linebacker for the Chicago Bears (1958-59) and the Dallas Cowboys (1961-1973) and former Bengals cornerback Ken Riley (1969-1983) were the other two senior finalists.
Now that Klecko, Howley and Riley have emerged from the group of 12 senior former under consideration, they will each be considered along with 15 modern-era players and a coach and contributor, to be inducted into the Pro Football Class of 2023 Hall of Fame class in January. Klecko will be elected if he receives 80% approval during the balloting process. However, for senior finalists, that is usually considered a formality.
It has been a long wait for Klecko to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was eligible in 1988, first as a Modern Era candidate and as a senior candidate but has never advanced to the finalist stage until now.
After being selected in the sixth-round selection in the 1977 draft out of Temple, Klecko had an illustrious career with the Jets. In 11 seasons, Klecko registered 78 sacks as he along with Mark Gastineau, Marty Lyons, and Abdul Salaam formed the group “New York Sack Exchange.
Klecko’s best season came during the 1981 campaign as he recorded 20.5 sacks as he was runner-up for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. During his time with the Jets, Klecko was named to four Pro Bowls and earned two first-team All-Pro honors – once at defensive end and once at nose guard.
The 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class could be special with Klecko and former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who will be eligible for the first time. During his career with the Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, Revis was a seven-time Pro Bowler, four-time first-team All-Pro, and winning Super Bowl XLIX with the Patriots.