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A truly historic franchise with an interesting past, the Cleveland Browns were established in 1946. Playing through the 1995 season, the team left Cleveland for Baltimore and became the Ravens. The city of Cleveland, upset by the loss of the team and desperate for football, announced the expansion Browns in 1998 and began playing again in 1999.
The old Browns are remembered for their dominance on the football field, reaching the championship game every season between 1946 and 1955, winning seven titles along the way with quarterback Otto Graham leading the charge. They also had the honor of rooting for Jim Brown, perhaps the greatest running back of all-time. The early years for the Browns were marked with unprecedented success.
However, since 1964, their last championship winning season, Cleveland has been one of the most snake bitten franchises in all of sports. It has been more than 50 years since the Browns were champions. While many great players have rushed onto the field in Browns uniforms, no team has put together the kind of season that would bring them a Lombardi Trophy.
More than 25 quarterbacks have started for the Cleveland Browns since 1999. A slew of free agent and draft pick busts have constantly disrupted the efforts to rebuild this once premier franchise back into a winner. However, with the drafting of Baker Mayfield in 2018, the dark times in Cleveland may be coming to an end.
Using the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft to select quarterback Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma, fans in the Dawg Pound have their fingers crossed that Mayfield is the leader they need to overcome their woes. The early results look very promising. Management relived veteran heard coach Hue Jackson mid-season in favor of Gregg Williams, signifying a turning point for the club. While Williams stayed on for the remainder of the season, the offensive coordinator, Freddie Kitchens, was promoted to head coach.
Shaking off incredible 0-16 record from 2017, Cleveland is looking toward the future with one goal in mind: winning. Mayfield has some bigtime weapons with which to work. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry emerged as a top target. The Browns also used a 1st round pick in 2018 to select tight end David Njoku from Miami. He, too, experienced great first year. The running game got a boost from the signing of controversial back Kareem Hunt. However, the biggest move came when the Browns traded for Odell Beckham Jr. One of the most electric players in the league, Beckham instantly forms a devastating tandem with Jarvis Landry. The two are great friends and were teammates together in college at LSU. This offense just made the jump to elite. If they are as good on the field as they look on paper, Cleveland will be phenomenal on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively, the Browns upgraded through the draft by picking up Myles Garrett with the 2018 1st overall pick. Cleveland looks to establish a dominant edge rush in their pass attack. Defensive end Olivier Vernon was added through a trade with the New York Giants in the offseason to strengthen this resolve. Jamie Collins leads from the linebacking corps, while Damarious Randall sets up shop in the backfield. Add to the mix the number four overall pick from 2018, Denzel Ward, a dynamic cornerback, and suddenly the Cleveland defense is looking even stronger.
There is a long way to go before this group is considered a potential playoff team, but with hard work and determination, Coach Kitchens may have his squad ready to make a push. In a major offseason move, Cleveland has picked up troubled running back Kareem Hunt, who last played for Kansas City. Taking a chance on this once promising star, Cleveland is gambling that Hunt has put his troublesome past behind him. Looking at the past great players for the Browns results inspires these players. There have been many of them in Cleveland over the years including Bernie Kosar, Clay Matthews, Jr., Joe Thomas, Ozzie Newsome, Otto Graham, and Jim Brown. Click here to learn more about the Cleveland Browns history.