Everyone 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.