FAMU, Bengals legend Ken “The Rattler” Riley selected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Ken Riley played 15 seasons with the Bengals
Ken Riley played 15 seasons with the Bengals(Cincinnati Bengals)
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 1:06 AM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The wait is finally over.

At Thursday Night’s NFL Honors ceremony in Phoenix, AZ, Florida A&M and Cincinnati Bengals legend Ken “The Rattler” Riley was named along eight others as a member of the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame. Riley’s son, Ken Riley II accepted the honor on his father’s behalf after being introduced by Riley’s old Bengals teammate Anthony Munoz. Riley passed away in June of 2020.

“It’s always a great day to be a Rattler, but today is a little bit sweeter,” said Head Coach Willie Simmons in a release from Florida A&M. “Congratulations to the late great Ken Riley on being selected to the 2023 class of the NFL Hall of Fame. Your storied career is one we know all too well on the Highest of Seven Hills and with the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s great that you’ve finally been recognized by your peers as one of the all-time greats.”

Riley’s posthumous induction marks the end of a long fight from many in both the FAMU and Bengals communities to enshrine “The Rattler,” who played quarterback at FAMU in the 1960′s for Jake Gaither before spending his entire 15 year professional career in Cincinnati as a corner whose 65 career interceptions still stands as fifth all-time. After his playing days, Riley returned to the hill, serving as both Head Football Coach and eventually Athletic Director for the Rattlers, hiring the great Billy Joe as his replacement as Head Coach.

Riley’s accolades prior to this selection are plentiful, a Rhodes Scholar candidate as a student, a three time All-Pro, a FAMU Hall of Famer, a Black College Football Hall of Famer and in 2021 he was inducted into the Bengals Ring of Honor.

“Congratulations to FAMU alumnus Ken Riley and the Riley family on his posthumous selection as a 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee,” remarked Vice President and Director of Athletics Tiffani-Dawn Sykes in a statement. “It’s no surprise to members of the Rattlers community that he has earned this honor. Riley has shown that an HBCU can prepare you to excel anywhere, at anything, on any level.”

Riley will be officially enshrined in Canton on August 5th, 2023.