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Raymond Clayborn
No. 26
Personal information
Born: (1955-01-02) January 2, 1955 (age 69)
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Career information
NFL draft:1977 / Round: 1 / Pick: 16
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
INT yards:555
Return yards:1,538
Return TDs:3
Player stats at · PFR

Raymond DeWayne Clayborn (born January 2, 1955) is an American former professional football player who was a cornerback for the New England Patriots (1977–1989) and Cleveland Browns (1990, 1991) of the National Football League (NFL). A three-time Pro Bowl and five-time All-Pro selection, he was the Patriots' starting cornerback in Super Bowl XX. Prior to the that he was an All-American defensive back and a running back/returner at the University of Texas.

Early life

Clayborn was born in Fort Worth, TX and played high school football there at Green B. Trimble Technical High School[1] and

College career

Clayborn played college football for the University of Texas at Austin as both a running back and defensive back where he helped the team win Conference Championships in 1973 and 1975. He was Texas' first four-year letterman, starting for the Longhorns from 1973-76.[2] Clayborn rushed for 529 yards and 8 touchdowns during his time at Texas, with an average of 6.4 yards per carry. He also returned 35 punts for 335 yards.[3] He made the All-Southwest Conference team in 1975 an 1976 and was an All-American and the team's MVP in 1976.

Clayborn also ran track at Texas in 1976 and 1977, helping the track team with conference championships both year. He ran on the 440-yard and mile relay teams that won conference championships both year.[4]

In 1991, he was inducted to the University of Texas Hall of Honor.[4]

NFL career

Clayborn was a first round draft pick by the New England Patriots, going 16th over all (with a pick they got from San Francisco for QB Jim Plunkett). During his 14 year career, he made the Pro Bowl three times with the Patriots. From 1977-1982, he was paired with Hall of Fame player Mike Haynes. For his first three seasons, he also played kick returner. As a rookie, he returned 28 kickoffs for 869 yards and a league-leading 3 touchdowns, giving him an NFL-best and Patriots franchise record 31.0 yards per return average. He was a key player on three playoff teams, including 1978, 1982, and most notably 1985, recording a career-high six regular season interceptions (one for a touchdown) as the Patriots won three road playoff games en route to an improbable appearance in Super Bowl XX. In the Patriots 31-14 Conference Championship win over the Miami Dolphins, Clayborn helped frustrated Miami quarterback Dan Marino into having a terrible game during which he completed only 20 of 48 passes for 248 yards. Clayborn made one of two Patriots interceptions during the upset. In the subsequent 46-10 loss against the Bears in Super Bowl XX, the Patriots were undone by turnovers and smothered by Chicago's crushing 46 defense. Though Bears quarterbacks completed only 12 passes for 258 yards with no touchdowns, New England's secondary was beaten several times on catches for big gains. Clayborn recovered one of two Chicago fumbles while watching his offense turn the ball over six times.

Clayborn was involved in an infamous incident early in the 1979 season involving Boston Globe reporter Will McDonough. Clayborn, who had twice been involved in fights with teammates[5] the week leading up to a 56-3 rout of the New York Jets, began snapping at reporters in the locker room after the game and threatening them. When McDonough tried to intervene and settle the situation, Clayborn poked him in the eye; McDonough responded by punching Clayborn twice. The National Football League handed down a $2,000 fine to Clayborn for "conduct involving members of the news media" over the incident. That followed another incident a week prior, in which Clayborn threatened Associated Press writer Bruce Lowitt for trying to ask Clayborn a question after the Patriots' season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.[6]

In 1990, Clayborn became a free agent and signed a $1.8 Million 2-year contract with Cleveland,[7] but his career there - where he recorded no interceptions - was less impressive than at New England. He missed almost all of the 1991 season with a leg injury.[8] He finished the 1991 season as an unprotected Plan B player and decided to retire.

Clayborn finished his career with 36 interceptions, which he returned for 555 yards and a touchdown. He also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and 3 touchdowns, and recovered 4 fumbles. At the time of his retirement, his 36 interceptions were a Patriots record, which has since been tied by Ty Law. He is currently the NFL Uniform Program Representative for the Houston Texans.

He was elected to the New England Patriots Hall of Fame in 2017.[9] On July 29, 2017, he signed a 1-day contract (at his request) prior to being inducted to officially retire as a New England Patriot.[10]

Clayborn has been a Pro Football Hall of Fame nominee on several occasions, but has never advanced to a semi-finalist.

See also


  1. ^ Ex-Patriots standout Clayborn honored by Trimble Tech
  2. ^ Raymond Clayborn --Texas Sports
  3. ^ "Raymond Clayborn College Stats".
  4. ^ a b "Raymond Clayborn Hall of Honor". Retrieved April 17, 2023.
  5. ^ "Infamous Moments – McDonough Punches Clayborn". August 6, 2008.
  6. ^ "Clayborn Fined $2,000 by N.F.L." The New York Times. October 3, 1979.
  7. ^ "Plan B Means Plenty to a Lot". The Washington Post. April 1, 1990.
  8. ^ "Aikman, Cowboys Ruin Belichick's Debut". The Washington Post. September 2, 1991.
  9. ^ Reiss, Mike (May 22, 2017). "Raymond Clayborn 'totally surprised' by Patriots Hall of Fame honor". ESPN. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  10. ^ Ryan, Conor (July 29, 2017). "Raymond Clayborn, new Patriots Hall of Fame inductee, signs one-day contract to retire with New England (video)". Retrieved November 16, 2023.