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Kurt Warner: “Would’ve been fun to win a Super Bowl in Cleveland”

In less than a month, Kurt Warner will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Hall of Fame quarterback accomplished a lot in his career, including a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro, being named MVP twice, and most importantly, a Super Bowl champion. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Browns have been in search of a franchise quarterback and have made just one playoff appearance since their return in 1999. If Warner had his way, he would have loved to be that guy for the Browns. On a Hall of Fame conference call on Thursday, the Hall of Fame quarterback had some pretty interesting things to say about the Browns, according to NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman.

“Had I gone to Cleveland, how would my career be different? I have no idea. It would have been fun to win a Super Bowl in Cleveland, though. But I think when you’re going through the process, and you get to this point I always felt like wherever I was, I would be successful.”

The Browns, who will likely start their 27th quarterback since 1999 at some point this season, had the chance to select Warner in the expansion draft when they re-entered the league after the Rams left him unprotected. Instead, they took Buccaneers’ Scott Milanovich and then Tim Couch with the first-overall pick in the NFL Draft. How’d that decision end up? Milanovich was cut by the Browns even before the season started. Even Warner can’t help but think of how he could’ve helped the Browns.

“Had I gone to Cleveland, I would’ve expected nothing else except to have success, somehow, someway, in some form,” he said. “Had I been on the field, I would’ve expected to play well and have success. I believe had I gone there and had a chance to play, I would’ve helped that franchise go to places they’ve never been before.

“Whether it’s arrogance or confidence or whatever you want to call it, that was my mentality when I stepped between the lines on a football field  — that I was going to make my team, and somehow, someway, I was going to find a way to succeed.”

Warner had thrown just 11 passes in the NFL at the time of the expansion draft, but he had plenty of success in the Arena League and Europe. Everywhere he went he was successful, he just hadn’t gotten the chance to prove himself in the NFL quite yet.

“When I look at the timeline, I look at it and say, ‘played one year in college, was Player of the Year in my conference, played three years in Arena Football, went to the Arena Bowl twice and was voted the best quarterback in the league all three seasons, went to Europe for a year and was the top quarterback statistically the season I played there.

“So I look at it and say every time I played I was successful. Everybody else looks at it and says he didn’t play very much. So there were two different perspectives on it.”

To say that he was successful in his NFL career would probably be an understatement. Along with all of his accomplishments that were mentioned earlier, the Hall of Famer also completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 32,344 yards, 208 touchdowns, and 128 interceptions in 124 games (116 starts).

Then again, many think that Couch could have been a successful quarterback but that he just had a bad break due to his supporting cast and eventual injuries. If Warner was a Brown, would he have turned into the quarterback he became, or would the young Browns have ruined him? He thinks success would have found him.

“Whether it’s arrogance or confidence or whatever you want to call it, that was my mentality when I stepped between the lines on a football field  — that I was going to make my team, and somehow, someway, I was going to find a way to succeed.”

As Browns fans, we’re used to thinking of what could have been. What if the Browns selected Warner instead of Milanovich in the expansion draft? Would the Browns have been Super Bowl contenders, or at least made it to the postseason multiple times? We won’t ever know, but we can always dream and wonder what could have been.