Browns

Fun with Numbers: New Browns Edition

Kruger jerseyEveryone likes numbers right? Every once in a while I like to see what story the numbers tell. Today I’m going to do a special ‘Fun with Numbers edition on the new Browns and their jersey numbers. Let’s have some fun-

You know that moment when a new player is introduced at a press conference and they hold up his new jersey? Unlike at the draft, when generally they all hold up a number 1 jersey, these are usually the number the player has selected to wear. Yesterday, the Browns confirmed uniform numbers for the 8 players signed thus far in free agency.

17- Jason Campbell. Campbell wore 17 with the Redskins, his first team in the league. In Oakland he wore number 8 and last season with the Bears he wore number 2. The number 17 is quite an interesting one in Browns history. Before Brian Sipe wore it in the mid 70’s and early 80’s, only one player had worn it in team history- Jerry Rhome in 1969. (1000 Woofnie points to you if you’ve ever heard of Jerry Rhome before.) From the beginning of the franchise until 1990, only those two players wore it. Since then, it has been worn by Todd Philcox, Chris Gardocki, Braylon Edwards and Jake Delhomme. (Worn in games. Not counting practice squad or training camp invites.)

Brian Sipe is the team’s career leader in passing yards by the way. He threw for 23,713 yards. That’s a mere 123 yards more than Otto Graham. Otto is still the leader in touchdown passes though, with 174. Todd Philcox has 7 TDs. Delhomme has 2. Just to give Campbell something to shoot for. Second place in touchdown passes for a Browns QB wearing number 17.

99- Paul Kruger. Kruger wore 99 in Baltimore since he was drafted in 2009. Plenty of Browns defenders have worn that number, most recently of course by Scott Fujita. Before Fujita, there was Corey Williams, Orpheus Roye and a host of players that wore it for a season or two. (Including Hurvin McCormack in 1999. Yes, I went Hurvin McCormack on you.)

It shouldn’t be that hard for Kruger to become the all-time sack leader wearing number 99 for the Browns. Roye has 9.5. Fujita and Williams are tied at 4.5. Hurvin has 2. (Bet I could have won a bet with that number.) Keep in mind sacks did not become an official stat until 1982.

82- Gary Barnidge. Barnidge wore 82 in Tennessee. Quite the popular number for tight ends in Cleveland. The most prolific of course was Ozzie Newsome. The Wizard wore it while catching a Browns record 662 passes for a Browns record 7,980 yards and 47 touchdowns. (That’s good for fifth all-time in team history. Tops among tight ends of course.)

More recently the number was worn by Ben Watson, Steve Heiden and Rickey Dudley. Interesting fact about #82. LB/DE Jim Houston wore it for his twelve year career. In addition to being an all-pro on the last Browns team to win a title, Houston has scored a touchdown on an interception return and caught a pass for a TD. He also came in and kicked an extra point in a pinch. He is 1 for 1 for his kicking career.

34- Kevin Barnes. Barnes wore numbers 25 and 22 in Washington. He wore 32 in Detroit last season. 34 has flipped between running backs and defensive backs for the Browns. The most prominent 34s were Greg Pruitt and Kevin Mack. Most recently it was worn by James Dockery, Chris Jennings, Reuben Droughns, Lewis Sanders and Ben Gay. Oh, and Lorenzo White wore it his one year in Cleveland. LORENZO WHITE!

54- Quentin Groves. Groves wore 54 with the Cardinals, 52 with the Raiders, 93 and 54 with the Jaguars. Those of you who are my age probably remember two players who wore the number before the Browns returned in ’99. Tom DeLeone was the center for the Kardiac Kids. (DeLeone a hikin’.) The other is Mike Jumkin. DeLeone was rescued from the Bengals scrap heap and became an all-pro for the Browns. Junkin was a GINORMOUS bust for the Browns. Drafted 5th overall out of Duke, Junkin played LB for two years before the Browns cut him. He started a whopping 7 games for Cleveland.

I know TD wouldn’t let me hear the end of it if I failed to mention Blake Costanzo recently wore number 54 for the Browns. So did LB Andra Davis. Adrian Moten wore it last year. He has switched to number 56.

21- Chris Owens. Owens wore 21 for Atlanta. There have been a few big names wear number 21 for the Browns. The biggest is of course one of the smallest players to wear a Browns uniform. That’s right, Eric Metcalf up the middle. Josh Cribbs may have the team lead in kick return touchdowns, but Metcalf still has the most punts returned for scores with 5. (It seems like he had five against the Steelers alone doesn’t it?) The other big name is Earnest Byner, who wore number 44 during his first stint with the team, but wore 21 when he came back to the franchise in 1995.

81- Kellen Davis. Davis wore number 87 during his time with the Bears. The number 81 hasn’t had a ton of success in Browns’ history. Players wearing it have hung around for a couple years at best. Alex Smith wore it the last three years. Prior to that we’re talking Travis Wilson, Antonio Bryant, Quincy Morgan and and the thriller Michael Jackson. Come on Davis! Browns uniform history is there for the making!

92- Desmond Bryant. Bryant wore number 90 in Oakland. Others who wore 92: Frostee Rucker, Jayme Mitchell, Shaun Rogers, Ted Washington and of course Courtney Brown. But they were all just shadows of Michael Dean Perry. Bryant, you have some work to do if you want a McDonald’s sandwich named after you.

  • MrCleaveland

    Good stuff, Rick.

    BTW, the number 99 had a small supporting role in the movie “The Fortune Cookie” during a betting game played by the equipment managers.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Very very interesting.

  • Jaker

    Quincy Morgan made the playoffs as a Brown. Seems like KD is actually helping us out

  • maxfnmloans

    am I the only one who thinks it is a tragedy that Ozzie’s number is not retired?

  • Garry_Owen

    You are not.

    But with only 5 numbers retired in all of Browns history, it’s going to be a hard thing to accomplish. Certainly, they won’t do anything until Ozzie physically retires in Baltimore.

  • Garry_Owen

    Too bad Spielman never got to wear that 54 in a regular season game.

  • Truth.

  • Garry_Owen

    When Byner came back he also briefly wore #20.

  • Garry_Owen

    In fact, he wore #20 for half of his second stint in Cleveland: 1994. This was Metcalf’s last year in Cleveland, so Byner couldn’t wear #21 until 1995 – which was his last year in Cleveland (because something happened that year . . . can’t seem to recall what it was . . . . I’m sure it will come to me . . . .).

  • humboldt

    Indians in the World Series!!!

  • Garry_Owen

    That’s it! Thanks.

    Still, I can’t seem to place why that affected Byner . . .

    Oh well.

  • Harv 21

    love the topic of retired jersey numbers. If Garry is correct that the Browns have 5, isn’t it amazing that the Cavs have 6, and that doesn’t include their best player ever. Or that the LA Lakers with all their rings, league MVPs and HOFers have just 7.

    I prefer that the team not retire a number unless the guy is recognized nationally as one of the greatest ever. Ozzie qualifies. But no Bingo, Mark Price, Daugherty or other such mockeries of the practice. Lousy organizations resort to that as a cheap nostalgia ploy when the current teams keeps sucking.

  • mgbode

    I don’t blame Ozzie for going to Baltimore to get his fair shot in a FO at a time that didn’t happen much for african-americans. However, his number shouldn’t be retired until he is no longer a part of that organization. At that point, the best TE of his era should get his number retired.

  • mgbode

    heard he’s a big baseball fan and that affected his (and the rest of the teams) play the rest of the year as they were too devastated with David Justice to focus.

  • mgbode

    since Campbell took #17, does that mean that we aren’t re-signing Braylon?

  • Garry_Owen

    Well that certainly makes sense.

    It just seems weird that Byner and so many of the other Browns players ended up playing for Baltimore that year. It must have been really devastating.

  • mgbode

    wasn’t Travis Wilson considered the best WR of his draft?

    (answer: yes, he was. only by himself though)

  • Garry_Owen

    Agree completely, but I don’t think it happens.

  • mgbode

    they figured no chance of the O`s ever making the World Series

  • maxfnmloans

    Case in point- Nate Thurmond. I mean sure, he was part of the “Miracle” but he was only here for the last 2 years of his 14 year career, and only played in 114 regular season games for the Cavs.

  • Garry_Owen

    So true. If the Browns followed that logic, #s 19, 29, 31, 34, 44, 57, 82, 84, 86, and 88 (and a few others) would all be retired on the basis of “almost” winning 3 AFC championship games.

    Numbers should be retired very sparingly. OSU retires Heisman Trophy winners, and that’s it. That seems about right.

    [The five retired numbers are 14 (Graham), 32 (Brown), 45 (Davis), 46 (Fleming. Fleming?) and 76 (Groza).]

  • Garry_Owen

    Okay. Now I get it.

  • maxfnmloans

    I agree with everything except the “shouldn’t be retired while he is a member of that organization”

    Perhaps I’m mellowing with age, but Art is gone, the Lerners are gone, and maybe the dark cloud of suck is gone as well. I figure, strictly from a standpoint of exercising demons, we should honor Ozzie, while the Ravens are in town. We need to stop hanging on to petty jealousies for decades. Maybe if we are the “bigger man” the Karma gods that have shat upon us for years will smile upon us instead.

    I know the Browns have only 5 retired numbers, but if a Hall of Fame career played entirely with the Browns isn’t enough, then they might as well just not do it at all.

    That being said, I can see how others may feel differently.

  • Harv 21

    the worst of all, and I’ve commented before about that jersey in the rafters (and that it wasn’t a “miracle” in any sense). Ok, Nate had a menacing defensive presence in his limited minutes and games, but he was a second stringer forced to start. At least he was a washed up HOFer when he played here for a minute.

  • maxfnmloans

    they tossed a contract offer his way, but he dropped it

  • Harv 21

    One of the best. Nationally Kellen Winslow was considered the vanguard TE deep threat, with Ozzie being 1A. Winslow got way more pub as being part of the Air Coryell thing, while Ozzie’s speed and acrobatics only lasted a couple of years with Sipe before he became a very reliable but much less of a deep threat guy with Kosar.

  • Harv 21

    anyone else see that Donte Stallworth was hospitalized with burns from a hot air balloon accident? Apparently awful stuff follows that guy, even when he’s not hanging out with Braylon.

  • Harv 21

    Can’t think of any org that retired a jersey while the guy worked for a rival. I think Ozzie’s great and his move to Baltimore and a chance to keep working in football when no one else wanted him was a no-brainer. But no team wants to infect that sort of tribute with a whiff of any ambivalence. Bittersweet doesn’t work at those events.

  • mgbode

    Kellen couldn’t block. I think Ozzie was considered the consensus best all-around TE of his era.

  • humboldt

    I would say he was guilty of hubris, but he was so insignificant of a player that it ceases to mean anything

  • humboldt

    I think it’s more a matter of his “New York senescence”

  • maxfnmloans

    fair enough…not how I’d run a railroad, but then again, maybe that’s why no one has ever asked me to run a railroad

  • NoVA Buckeye

    I thought 36 (Motley) was retired, too?

  • Garry_Owen

    Interesting. I can’t find any record of it being retired, but I also can’t find any record of a player since Motley wearing it.

    Unofficially retired?

  • Lifelong Browns Fan

    I realize he never played an actual regular season down for the Browns but no mention of Chris Spielman #54?

  • Lifelong Browns Fan

    Absolutely!