Bengals legendary CB Ken Riley belongs in Pro Football Hall of Fame
The omission of legendary Bengals cornerback Ken Riley not being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is questionable. Riley finished his career with 65 interceptions which are fifth in NFL history. Riley was a first-team All-Pro in 1983 and a named second-team All-NFL for the 1970s by Pro Football Reference.
In seven career playoff games, Riley had three interceptions. In a 15-year career, Riley started 202 of 207 career games. Riley holds Bengals franchise records in games played, interceptions, interception return yards and interception returns for touchdowns. Riley is second in defensive fumble recoveries.
The four players ahead of Riley in career interceptions, Paul Krause, Emlen Tunnell, Rod Woodson and Dick “Night Train” Lane are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The three players directly behind Riley in interceptions, Charles Woodson, Ed Reed and Ronnie Lott are also enshrined in Canton.
Working against Riley is that he amazingly never made a Pro Bowl. Riley became a great player after being a sixth-round pick by the Bengals in the 1969 NFL Draft. Riley was a quarterback at Florida A&M where he led the Rattlers to a 23-7 record as a starter. Bengals founder Paul Brown converted Riley to QB.
As a rookie, Riley returns 14 kickoffs averaging 23.9 yards. Riley finished in the top 10 in interceptions four times in his NFL career. Riley had career-high nine interceptions in 1976 and recorded eight during his final season in 1983 to earn his only year as an All-Pro, but still not a Pro Bowl invitation.
Following a legendary playing career, Riley spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers. Riley returned to Tallahassee to coach Florida A&M from 1986–1993, finishing a 48-39-2 record. Riley was the Rattlers athletic director from 1994-2003. Riley suffered a fatal heart attack in June 2020.