The Pro Football Hall of Fame has changed its policy about deceased inductees and will now present a Hall of Fame ring to the next of kin for anyone enshrined in the Hall of Fame posthumously.
Elaine Anderson, the sister of Hall of Fame Class of 2022 member Cliff Branch, will be the first family member to receive a ring. She will accept his ring during a halftime ceremony in Las Vegas on Sunday, when the Raiders host the Chargers. Branch, who died in 2019, played his entire 15-year NFL career with the Raiders.
The Hall of Fame said that Raiders owner Mark Davis (son of Hall of Famer Al Davis) and Virginia Madden (widow of Hall of Fame Raiders coach John Madden) were among those who urged the Hall of Fame to reconsider its old policy of only awarding rings to living inductees.
“The decision to present these rings, quite simply, is the right thing to do,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said. “It follows several passionate discussions with friends and family members of deceased Hall of Famers. The Hall looks forward to participating in these additional ring ceremonies and will be announcing more details in the near future.”
The Hall of Fame said it will also present a ring to the family of Sam Mills, this year’s other posthumous inductee. The Hall of Fame also plans to reach out to the families of other Hall of Famers who were elected after their deaths to organize ceremonies to present their rings to them.