Since the beginning of the Dawg Pound, many players have touched the hearts of Cleveland Browns fans. Let’s stroll down memory lane and look at 15 personal favorites.
As fans of the Cleveland Browns, much focus over the last few months has been toward the future and that dim light at the end of the tunnel of misery. While that glimpse of light certainly brings hope, I offer a glance back in time at some of my personal favorite players.
Born in 1979, my fanatical days began roughly alongside the days of the Dawg Pound, which finds its origins in 1985. Although I remain a child at heart, I am not as aged as some, nor as youthful as others. As such, my own favorites — and this particular list — are from the Dawg Pound era.
I have left out the Browns greats that donned the Brown and Orange before my time. Hall of Fame legends like Jim Brown, Paul Warfield and Otto Graham will certainly make the list when I extend this topic into an all-time list, but for now I will stick with the mid-1980s to present and my own personal favorites.
Additionally, I can already see the comment section below filling up with names that I neglected to mention. Whether left out by memory-lapse, personal preference, or sheer idiocy, please feel free to throw your favorite Dawgs a bone and include them in said comment section below. Perhaps they will be included in my all-time favorites list.
We begin at the end, saving the best for last.
15. Gerald “Ice Cube” McNeil
Perhaps I loved him because he was the first football player whose diminutive size (5-7, 145 pounds) was smaller than my own as a youngster. More likely, however, it was the awe and amazement that such a little guy had a pair so big that he would run right into an onslaught of defenders over and over again with each kick return. Much like his nickname, he would squirt out the other side like an “Ice Cube” would slip the grasp of anyone trying to contain it.
14. Thane Gash
Back when football was football, brutal hits were an awe-inspiring part of the game. Having had concussion issues of my own I understand the modern regulations and safety protocols, but let me tell you, Thane Gash would deliver a blow that would resonate a thunderous crack throughout stadiums and television speakers alike.
I must confess that I do miss the harsh brutality, and Gash provided plenty of it. So much so that a neck injury ended his time in Cleveland. He would have a bone-fusion and continue his career in San Francisco, but his four years as a Brown certainly left an impact on me.
13. Josh Gordon
Quite simply, Josh Gordon is the most fascinating receiver I have ever witnessed. With his career on the mend and troubles hopefully behind him, we may finally get to see how very special Gordon is. His gracefully smooth athleticism reminds me of only one before him, the great Hall of Famer, Paul Warfield.
Gordon holds the team’s single season records in receiving yard record with 1,646, and a ridiculous 117.6 yards per game, both set in 2013. He currently leads the Browns in career receiving yards per game with a 77.2 average.