2 Bengals greats added to first Ring of Honor class

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson scrambles during the 1981 AFC Championship game against the San Diego Chargers on Jan. 10, 1982. Dayton Daily News file
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson scrambles during the 1981 AFC Championship game against the San Diego Chargers on Jan. 10, 1982. Dayton Daily News file

Ken Anderson, Ken Riley voted in to join Paul Brown and Anthony Munoz in inaugural group

Two former Cincinnati Bengals players who many fans believe should be in the NFL Hall of Fame will join Paul Brown and Anthony Muñoz in the Bengals’ inaugural Ring of Honor class, the team announced Thursday.

Season ticket members selected former quarterback Ken Anderson and former cornerback Ken Riley from a ballot that featured 17 former players. They join Munoz and Brown, who were chosen by the team as the first two into the Ring of Honor.

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The Ring of Honor induction ceremony will take place during halftime of the Sept. 30 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, when the Bengals play on Thursday Night Football. That game also will serve as a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 1981 team’s Super Bowl appearance.

“We have a long history of players, many of them great players. Ken Anderson and Ken Riley are at the top of that list of great players,” Bengals President Mike Brown said in a statement. “They were the type of players that we like to think our team is all about. I am pleased they are the top picks of the fans.”

Anderson’s 16 seasons are the most by a Bengals player.

Ken Riley
Ken Riley

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.

“The Bengals organization is very special to me, and I’m so proud to be a part of the inaugural class,” Anderson said in a news release. “We have a great football tradition. It’s one of winning, it’s one of playing hard. That goes back to the Paul Brown days. I’m glad that can be recognized. I think back to those days because I think those days are coming again.”

Riley’s 65 career interceptions are the fifth most all-time, and the most by a pure cornerback in the NFL. Riley, who passed away last June, played in a Bengals-record 207 games as the only defender in team history to play 15 seasons.

He holds the team record for interception return yards (596) and interception returns for touchdowns (5).

“The Ring of Honor is the Mount Rushmore for the Bengals. It’s incredible for my father to be included in the inaugural class,” said Riley’s son, Ken Riley II. “To be recognized by the fans, that makes it even more special. My father would receive so much love every time he came back to Cincinnati, and to have them vote him in makes it that much sweeter.”

The Ring of Honor recognizes former players, coaches and individuals who have played a significant role in the franchise’s history and tradition. The Ring of Honor will be displayed on the East facade inside Paul Brown Stadium and live on Bengals digital channels.