Florida A&M legend, Ken Riley, was inducted into the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday during enshrinement ceremonies here.
“The Rattler,” as he was called, was a four year starter at FAMU as a quarterback and led his team to three Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) titles. He was the last quarterback to play for legendary FAMU head coach Alonzo “Jake” Gaither.
He was drafted in 1969 in the sixth round of the (135th overall pick) by the Cincinnati Bengals and converted to defensive back by Bengals’ Hall of Fame head coach Paul Brown.
He recorded four interceptions in nine games of his rookie season. He ended his career with a team-record 65 interceptions, sixth-best all-time n NFL history, and five touchdowns. Riley, who played all of his 15 years in Cincinnati, is only the second Bengal to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The honor was long overdue. He becomes the 35th player from a black college to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. HBCU players account for nearly one-tenth of the Hall’s 354 inductees.
After his retirement from the NFL, Riley spent two years with the Green Bay Packers as an assistant coach. He eventually returned to his alma mater and served as Florida A&M’s head coach from 1986-1993, earning two MEAC conference titles. Riley also served as FAMU’s athletic director from 1994-2004.
He died in 2020 at the age of 72 from a heart attack.