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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Grueling Truth's Top 10 Sports Lists / Top-10 Greatest Cleveland Browns Players of All Time

Top-10 Greatest Cleveland Browns Players of All Time

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Publish Date:07/09/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Since returning to the NFL, the Cleveland Browns have been a complete joke. Before the Brownies moved in the mid-1990s, the organization had a great 50-year history.

Today we’ll select the top 10 players in Browns history.

T9) Dante Lavelli and Mac Speedie

You can’t put one in without the other. Along with quarterback Otto Graham, Lavelli and Speedie dominated the league. The trio was actually ahead of their time, bringing a lot of today’s passing game into the league in the late 1940s and 50’s. The stats don’t match up with their contemporaries, but they were a large reason the Browns were so good.

Video: 1950 Browns Regular Season Highlights

1950 Browns Regular Season Highlights

8) Ozzie Newsome

Newsome came from an Alabama offense were passing the ball was not at the forefront of the offense. In Cleveland, Newsome had an immediate impact from day one. Newsome was selected to the Pro Bowl three times and helped the Browns to playoff seasons in 1980, 82, 85, 86, 87, 88, and 89.

Video: Ozzie Newsome Highlights

Ozzie Newsome Highlights

7) Bernie Kosar

A lot of people tend to undersell the achievements of Bernie Kosar. Let’s face it, he didn’t play like a “normal” quarterback but he got the job done. The Browns were  5-11 in 1984. After Kosar arrived in 1985, he immediately guided them to the playoffs. Kosar would help lead the Brown to three of the next four AFC Championship games. Time has not treated Kosar well – because he came up short all three times.

Video: Bernie Kosar Browns Highlights

Bernie Kosar Browns Highlights

6) Lou Groza

To say Groza was a clutch kicker would be a massive understatement. The fact is a huge part of the Browns decade-long dominance had to do with the “Toe” of Groza. He was one of the first kickers who could really make a difference in the game and gave the Browns a decided advantage over most teams.

Video: Lou Groza (1998) Remembers the Browns

Lou Groza (1998) Remembers the Browns

T4) Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield

Dixon coined the phrase the “Dawg Pound” and together they formed one of the greatest cornerback tandems in NFL history. From 1986-88, the duo were AFC starters in the Pro Bowl. And a huge reason why  the Browns were a consistent playoff contender. Seamingly forgotten outside of Cleveland, Dixon and Minnifield were two of the best to ever play the game.

Video: Frank Minnifield & Hanford Dixon

Frank Minnifield & Hanford Dixon

3) Joe Thomas

Thomas was a Pro Bowler every year he played (10) and a dominant left tackle. Due to no fault of his own, Thomas never played in a playoff game. Thomas was a technically superior offensive lineman who deserved better.

Video: Joe Thomas Career Highlights || Cleveland Browns

Joe Thomas Career Highlights || Cleveland Browns

2) Otto Graham

Graham is one of the first truly great quarterbacks. Most of Grahams records set during his career have been broken, but his winning percentage, the best ever in NFL history, may be the most important. The game was much different in Graham’s time. No list of the top 10 quarterbacks of all-time is ever complete without Graham.

Video: Otto Graham Highlights (Final Version)

Otto Graham Highlights (Final Version)

1) Jim Brown

This pick was easy. In his shortened professional career, Brown carried the ball 2,359 times for 12,312 rushing yards and 106 touchdowns – which were all records when he retired. He averaged 104.1 rushing yards per game and is the only player in NFL history, to average over 100 yards every game he played. Brown may have been the greatest player in NFL history, and if he wasn’t, he deserves to be in every conversation about who was the best of all-time.

Video: Jim Brown Highlights (Final Version)

Jim Brown Highlights (Final Version)

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