Looking back, some of the largest icons in NFL history are often the ones that can be overlooked. All franchises have had their fair share of historic players, but who were the best of the best? Here, we discuss the four most iconic players to step on the field. We continue our series with the Cleveland Browns:
TE Ozzie Newsome (1978-90)
As someone who revolutionized the tight end position, Newsome had the perfect balance between physicality and speed. He was named to three Pro Bowls, and was honored to the All-Pro team during the 1984 season after totaling 1,001 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
The “Wizard of Oz” was named to the 1980s All-Decade Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. After his playing career, Newsome was an executive with the Browns from 1991-95. He assisted with team operations and scouting.
OT Joe Thomas (2007-17)
Out of the University of Wisconsin, Thomas was selected by the Browns with the third overall selection in the 2007 NFL Draft. Prior to an injury in his final season, Thomas totaled 10,363 consecutive offensive snaps played; the only player in NFL history to do so. Even with the number of snaps played, he was limited to just 61 penalties during his tenure.
To date, Thomas is only one of five players in NFL history to appear in 10 consecutive Pro Bowls. Due to the lack of team success, he was responsible for protecting 20 quarterbacks throughout his career. As one of the best players at his position, this spot on the Mount Rushmore was rightfully earned.
QB Otto Graham (1946-55)
During the NFL’s early days, Otto Graham was one of the most dominant players in the league. He made it to the Championship game in 10 consecutive seasons during his 10-year career; going 7-3 in those contests. He led the league in passing touchdowns three times, and was a three-time MVP.
Graham was named to seven All-Pro teams and honored with five Pro Bowl nominations. The early success of the Browns came directly through Otto Graham, as that dynasty is one for the ages.
RB Jim Brown (1957-65)
In the 1957 NFL Draft, the Browns used their sixth overall selection on perhaps the greatest running back in the history of the league. In nine seasons, his career totals include 12,312 rushing yards and 126 touchdowns. To date, he is the only running back to have ever averaged more than 100 rushing yards per game.
Brown won the NFL MVP on three occasions, including each of his first two seasons. He was named a Pro Bowl talent in every season he played, and was an eight-time All-Pro honoree. In 1964, Brown was part of the Championship roster. He was later named to the 1960’s All-Decade Team and the Hall of Fame.