By Ben Sullivan
It’s hard to believe it has taken the Eagles this long to recognize two of their greatest defensive players.
But on Sept. 23 Seth Joyner and Clyde Simmons will be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame when the team hosts the Indianapolis Colts at Lincoln Financial Field.
Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie made the announcement at halftime during tonight’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers:
“Seth Joyner was one of the most talented and fearless outside linebackers of his era, and the way he committed his heart and soul on every play spoke volumes about his love for the game,” said Lurie. “Seth epitomized the complete defensive player – dominant against the run, extremely skilled in coverage, and relentless in how he blitzed. Seth is one of the all-time greats in our franchise’s history and he set a powerful example for the generations of players that followed him at his position.”
Joyner, who was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1991, played linebacker for eight seasons in Philadelphia (1986-93), where he was a three-time All-Pro (1991, 1992, 1993) and two-time Pro Bowl (1991, 1993) selection. Joyner is the only player in Eagles history to record at least 35 sacks and 15 interceptions. He is also one of just two players in team history with 20 forced fumbles, joining Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Brian Dawkins (32, 1996-2008).
A native of Spring Valley, New York, Joyner was originally selected by the Eagles in the eighth round (208th overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft, following a standout career at Texas-El Paso. In 120 career games with the Eagles, he produced 875 tackles, 37.0 sacks, 17 interceptions, 21 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, and five defensive touchdowns.
“Clyde Simmons was one of the most feared pass rushers ever to play in Philadelphia, but he was also ferocious against the run and made his presence felt each and every week in the trenches,” said Lurie. “He was a pillar on one of the best defenses in NFL history and an integral part of the team’s success for many years. Clyde’s explosive and aggressive style of play resonated with our fans and also allowed him to become a dominant defensive lineman over the course of his career.”
Simmons, who played defensive end for the Eagles, was a two-time All-Pro selection (1991, 1992) and was named to two Pro Bowls (1991, 1992) during his time in Philadelphia (1986-93). He recorded 720 tackles, 76.0 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries, and three defensive touchdowns in 124 career games with the Eagles and ranks third on Philadelphia’s all-time sacks list, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Reggie White (124.0, 1985-92) and Trent Cole (85.5, 2005-14).
Over a five-year span from 1988-92, Simmons ranked second in the NFL with 63.0 sacks, behind teammate Reggie White (72.0). In 1992, he led the league with a career-high 19.0 sacks, which are the second most in Eagles single-season history, trailing only Reggie White in 1987 (21.0). Simmons is also tied for the club’s single-game sacks record (4.5), which he posted on September 15, 1991 at Dallas (also Hugh Douglas on October 18, 1998 at San Diego).
Simmons and Joyner were key contributors on an Eagles defense in 1991 that finished the season ranked first in the league in fewest passing yards allowed, fewest rushing yards allowed, and fewest total yards allowed, becoming just the fifth team in NFL history to accomplish that feat and the first since 1975.