Jets legend Joe Klecko was selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 on Wednesday, bringing him one step closer to consecration.
Klecko, Chuck Howley and Ken Riley were chosen as the three senior contenders from a shortlist of 12 semi-finalists. Klecko will be elected to the Hall if he receives the support of 80% of the voters in January, which is generally only a formality for senior candidates. He would then be dedicated to Canton next summer after years of waiting.
Klecko played 11 seasons for the Jets and was a key figure in the team’s famous “Sack Exchange” in the early 1980s, along with Mark Gastineau, Marty Lyons and Abdul Salaam. Klecko was a two-time All-Pro selection and made the Pro Bowl at three different positions – nose tackle, defensive tackle and defensive end. He spent the last season of his career with the Colts.
Sacks didn’t become an official stat until 1982, but Pro Football Reference researched sacks before that year and credits Klecko with 78 in his career. It’s the second in Jets history, behind only Gastineau’s 107.5.
Klecko was credited with 20.5 sacks in 1981, the year he finished second to Lawrence Taylor of the Giants in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
The Jets selected Klecko in the sixth round of the 1977 draft out of Temple. He played 140 games with the team from 1977 to 1987.
Howley is the only player from a losing team to be selected as Super Bowl MVP, earning Super Bowl V honor for the Cowboys in their loss to the Colts. The linebacker intercepted two passes in the 16-13 loss. He was All-Pro five times during his 15-year career.
Riley played 15 years for the Bengals as a cornerback and intercepted 65 passes.
Darrelle Revis will be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in January, presenting a possible double election for the Jets.
New York Post