Monday, September 3, 2012

Cleveland Browns

In 1967, the Browns compiled a 9-5 record and finished first in the Century Division (Browns, Giants, Steelers, Cardinals). They lost to the Cowboys in the first playoff round.

In 1968, they improved to 10-4, finished first again, and beat Dallas in the 1st playoff round. They would then lose to the NFL champion Colts.

Bill Nelsen - After 5 seasons with the Steelers, Nelson moved to Cleveland for 1968 and was the Browns' starting QB for 4 seasons, before finishing his career in 1972 as a backup.

Frank Ryan - Frank was drafted by the Rams in 1958. After 4 seasons as the backup QB, he was traded to the Browns and was their starting QB from 1962-67, making the Pro Bowl 3 times. He backed up Nelsen in 1968, then was the Redskins' #2 QB for 2 seasons.

Leroy Kelly - The retirement of Jim Brown after 1965 opened the gate for Kelly, who led the Browns in rushing every season from 1966-72. He led the NFL in '67 and '68 with over 1200 rushing yards each season. Kelly wound up his career in 1973 in a reduced role. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1994.

Ernie Green - Green spent his entire career (1962-68) with the Browns. He moved to fullback for his last 2 seasons (replacing the retired Jim Brown).

Gary Collins - Gary was the Browns' #1 pick (4th pverall) in 1962. He played his entire career (1962-71) with the Browns. He was primarily the punter in his rookie season, but became a fulltime flanker in his 2nd season (leading the NFL with 13 receiving TDs) while continuing to punt. He rarely punted in his last 4 seasons.

Paul Warfield - Long before he was winning Super Bowls with the Dolphins, Warfield was a top split end for the Browns. Cleveland's #1 pick in 1964 played 6 seasons with the Browns (although missing most of 1965) and led the NFL with 12 TDs in 1968. Paul achieved greater success in 5 seasons with Miami (1970-74). After a season in the WFL, he returned to Cleveland for the '76 and '77 seasons. Warfield was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.

Gene Hickerson - Here's a rare shot of a helmeted player - at least Topps didn't have to airbrush out an unlicensed logo! Hickerson played his entire career (1958-73) with the Browns. He was their starting right guard from 1959-71 before moving to left guard for his last 2 seasons. He entered the Hall of Fame in 2007.

Bill Glass - Topps inexplicably forgot to use orange on this card's nameplate (as with all other Browns' cards). They had a similar brain cramp on some of their 1967 baseball cards. Glass played from 1958 to 1968, and was the starting right defensive end every season but his rookie year. After 4 seasons with the Lions, he played his last 7 seasons with the Browns.

Jim Kanicki - Jim was drafted by the Browns in 1963 and played 7 seasons with the team - all but the first and last as the starting right defensive tackle. He was a starting DT for the Giants in 1970 and 1971.

Erich Barnes - Barnes was drafted by the Bears in 1958, and after 3 seasons as a starter there, he moved on to the Giants, where he was the starting left cornerback from 1961-64. He played his final 5 seasons (1965-71) with the Browns, where he started at left cornerback every season except '65 and '71.

Also see the 1967 and 1972 Browns.

Next time: Pittsburgh Steelers

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