Bengals induct first Ring of Honor class

Credit: Michael Conroy

Credit: Michael Conroy

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals finally have their Ring of Honor for all to see.

Months after announcing the inaugural class of Ken Anderson, Anthony Munoz, the late Paul Brown and the late Ken Riley, the Bengals unveiled the Ring of Honor display of names on the stadium’s east façade during a halftime ceremony Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Ring of Honor was created to better recognize former players, coaches and individuals who have played a significant role in the franchise’s history and tradition.

The Ring itself sits below the banner scoreboards, but was covered by curtains up until the halftime presentation, which included a video tribute and a special jacket presentation. The Bengals teamed up with Over-the-Rhine retailer and suit brand Pursuit to create a custom Ring of Honor jacket that will be given to each inductee or inductee’s family.

“It’s an exciting day, at the same time, very humbling to be part of this Ring of Honor, the inaugural inductees,” Munoz said when he learned he would be inducted into the inaugural class. “It is exciting. … My heart is still grateful that when there was a time in 1980 when a lot of clubs weren’t going to take a chance, to give me a chance to play in the NFL, that Paul Brown and the Brown family took a shot on me, even though I had a history of injuries. And so, I’ll always be thankful for that and the fact that this day’s taken place, and I get a chance to enter the Ring of Honor with Paul Brown.”

Munoz, Anderson and Ken Riley II were on hand for the induction ceremony during Thursday’s Bengals-Jaguars game on national television.

Munoz and Brown were the first two selected for the Ring of Honor, as chosen by the Bengals front office. Riley and Anderson were chosen in a vote by season ticket holders among a ballot of 17 nominees, the other 15 of whom will remain in consideration for future recognition.

The first four make up quite an inaugural class.

Credit: Michael Conroy

Credit: Michael Conroy

Brown, who founded the Bengals and served as the team’s first head coach and general manager, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967. Munoz, considered one of the greatest left tackles in the game, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998 in his first year of eligibility. He was an 11-time Pro Bowler and received the NFL Man of the Year Award in 1991.

Anderson’s 16 seasons are the most by a Bengals player. The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback played 192 games in a career highlighted by leading the Bengals to their first Super Bowl while winning the NFL MVP and passing title in 1981. Anderson is one of five players in NFL history to win at least four league passing titles and the only one to win consecutive passing titles in two different decades — doing it in 1974-75 and 1981-82.

Riley, who passed away in June 2020, was one of the best defenders in Bengals history. He played in a Bengals-record 207 games as the only defender in team history to play 15 seasons, and his 65 career interceptions are the fifth most all-time and the most by a pure cornerback in the NFL. Riley also holds the team record for interception return yards (596) and interception returns for touchdowns (five).

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