Cincinnati Bengals: Paul Brown, Anthony Munoz first two members of new Ring of Honor

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Paul Brown photographed in 1972. Brown founded the Cleveland Browns and then went on to found the Cincinnati Bengals. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Paul Brown photographed in 1972. Brown founded the Cleveland Browns and then went on to found the Cincinnati Bengals. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archive

The secret got out earlier this offseason, but the Cincinnati Bengals made it official Thursday they are starting a Ring of Honor. Paul Brown and Anthony Munoz are the first two members of the inaugural class to be recognized.

Fans and former Bengals have been pushing for a Ring of Honor over the years, and the Bengals are now creating one as a way to recognize past players, coaches and individuals who have played a significant role in the franchise’s history and tradition. Photos of a possible Ring of Honor in the works at Paul Brown Stadium emerged on social media earlier this offseason.

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The Ring of Honor will be displayed on the East facade inside Paul Brown Stadium and live on Bengals digital channels. Four people will be inducted in the inaugural class with a halftime ceremony during a Bengals home game this season.

“We are embarking on an exciting new chapter,” Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn said in a press release. “This is an important year to bring people back together and engage in meaningful ways that build community. Through the Bengals Ring of Honor, we will be able to celebrate our great history and keep memories alive as we create content that can be shared for generations to come.”

Cincinnati Bengals Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz, right, was honored along with the 1982 Freezer Bowl team before the NFL playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2013, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kareem Elgazzar | WCPO Cincinnati
Cincinnati Bengals Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz, right, was honored along with the 1982 Freezer Bowl team before the NFL playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2013, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kareem Elgazzar | WCPO Cincinnati

Credit: KAREEM ELGAZZAR

Credit: KAREEM ELGAZZAR

The Ring of Honor will be a recurring tradition, and Season Ticket Members and Suite Owners will select the remaining two members of the first class to join Brown and Munoz from a ballot that will be released in May.

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.

“The Bengals Ring of Honor is a way to show our appreciation for individuals who have made a significant impact on our franchise,” Bengals President Mike Brown said in the team release. “We selected Paul Brown and Anthony Munoz. They are in the Hall of Fame in Canton and it pleases me to put them out front as our initial inductees. We have a lot of great players and coaches to honor and it will be fun to reminisce as we go about this process.”

Munoz and Bengals director of strategy and engagement Elizabeth Blackburn will be speaking to media later Thursday.

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