Last year, Browns coach Eric Mangini notoriously covered up a mural celebrating great players in franchise history. This year, the Browns will immortalize 16 of them, via the creation of a Ring of Honor at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
The first class consists of the 16 Hall of Famers who played for the Browns. They are: running back Jim Brown, coach Paul Brown, offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure, defensive lineman Len Ford, offensive lineman Frank Gatski, quarterback Otto Graham, offensive lineman/kicker Lou Groza, offensive lineman Gene Hickerson, running back Leroy Kelly, receiver Dante Lavelli, offensive lineman Mike McCormack, receiver/running back Bobby Mitchell, fullback Marion Motley, tight end Ozzie Newsome, receiver Paul Warfield, and offensive lineman Bill Willis.
The induction will occur at halftime of the team’s home opener, against the Chiefs on September 19.
Jim Brown reportedly won’t attend the event, apparently due to hard feelings in the wake of the team’s decision to part ways with Brown, a former member of the franchise’s senior management, following the hiring of Mike Holmgren as team president. Though Brown may be upset about the decision, it was the right move; too many former Browns players had too much influence over the team’s affairs — and Brown was simply too eager to share his opinions about team management with the media and the public.
So now the Browns are doing things the right way when it comes to former players. Embrace them, welcome them, and don’t let them get their fingers anywhere close to steering wheel.
Unless, like Newsome, they put in the time and effort necessary to become scouts and, eventually, General Managers.