Cleveland Browns Hall of Famers: The Complete List

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio, and includes 22 inductees who played for the Browns.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio, and includes 22 inductees who played for the Browns.

How Many Browns Players Are in the Hall of Fame?

With 22 inductees, the Browns fall just outside the top 10 among teams with the most Hall of Fame players. Overall, there have been 346 players inducted into the Hall of Fame, with about six percent of them wearing a Browns uniform for at least one season. Most of Cleveland's Hall of Famers played during the team's dynasty of the 1940s and '50s.

Included among the Browns Hall of Famers are nine who spent their entire career in the orange and brown uniform, as well as the team's co-founder and first coach and 12 others who played most or some of their career in Cleveland. Many of the players inducted helped the Browns win eight championships—four in the All-America Football Conference (1946–49) and four in the NFL (1950, '54, '55 and '64). Of those Hall of Famers who played at least eight seasons with Cleveland, only Newsome came away without a championship.

Browns Hall of Famers

What follows is a list of every Hall of Famer who has played at least one game for the Browns. The players are listed in order by the number of seasons they spent with Cleveland. (All-Pro and Pro Bowl years listed only include seasons with the Browns.)

Lou Groza

  • Position: Kicker/Offensive Tackle
  • College: Ohio State
  • Seasons Played: 1946–59, 1961–67
  • Seasons With Browns: 1946–59, 1961–67
  • Year Inducted: 1974
  • Stats: 234 field goals and 641 point-after touchdown kicks for 1,349 points
  • Awards: 1954 Player of the Year
  • All-AAFC: 1946
  • All-Pro: 1952–57
  • Pro Bowl: 1950–55, 1957–59
  • Death: Age 76 in 2000

Lou "The Toe" Groza was the longest tenured among all Browns Hall of Famers, spending 21 consistent seasons in Cleveland and making immediate contributions in the first season in franchise history. Groza played three games with Ohio State, kicking five field goals there before joining the Army to defend America in World War II. He then joined the Browns and set numerous placekicking records during his career, while also lining up as an offensive tackle.

Groza won eight championships with the Browns. The biggest kick of his career was the game-winning field goal in the 1950 NFL championship game, when he booted a 16-yarder late in the fourth quarter to give Cleveland a 30–28 win over the Rams. Groza retired after the 1959 season due to injury, but returned a year later to play another seven seasons.

Paul Brown

  • Position: Head Coach/Executive
  • College: Miami (Ohio)
  • Seasons Active: 1946–62, 1968–91
  • Seasons With Browns: 1946–62
  • Year Inducted: 1967
  • Stats With the Browns: 158-48-8 record as an NFL head coach
  • Death: Age 82 in 1991

Not only was Paul Brown a co-founder of the Browns and the first head coach, but the team was also named after him. He served as head coach for 17 years and won seven championships as the finest head man in team history. He coached Cleveland to a perfect season in 1948 and a win in the inaugural NFL championship game in 1950.

Brown was an innovator and known for being a gruff coach who expected top-of-the-line efforts from all of his players on every play. His attitude led to many conflicts with players and eventually to a quarrel with Art Modell, who purchased the franchise in 1961. Modell fired Brown on Jan. 9, 1963.

Brown spent several years away from football before investing in the Bengals, a team slated to join the AFL. Brown became coach and general manager of the Bengals and retired from coaching after his team was eliminated from the 1975 playoffs. He remained president of the Bengals until he died, and to this day, their stadium is named in his honor.

Gene Hickerson

  • Position: Guard
  • College: Mississippi
  • Seasons Played: 1958–73
  • Seasons With Browns: 1958–73
  • Year Inducted: 2007
  • Stats: Played in 165 straight games, a Browns record when he retired
  • All-Pro: 1967–69
  • Pro Bowl: 1965–70
  • Death: Age 73 in 2008

Hickerson was a mainstay on the offensive line for Cleveland, helping pave the way for three other Hall of Famers during his career. A seventh-round draft choice, Hickerson eventually blocked for Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell and Leroy Kelly. That trio helped push an ailing Hickerson's wheelchair to the stage during his Hall of Fame induction.

Hickerson blocked for five of Brown's 1,000-yard seasons and three of Kelly's and helped the Browns to the 1964 NFL championship. His 15-year career was briefly interrupted by a broken leg in 1961, but once he returned in Week 3 of the '62 season, he wouldn't miss another game until he retired.

Ravens general manager and former Browns tight end Ozzie Newsome (left) and former Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts pose with Hall of Fame rings during the Hall of Fame Game in 2018.

Ravens general manager and former Browns tight end Ozzie Newsome (left) and former Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts pose with Hall of Fame rings during the Hall of Fame Game in 2018.

Ozzie Newsome

  • Position: Tight End
  • College: Alabama
  • Seasons Played: 1978–90
  • Seasons With Browns: 1978–90
  • Year Inducted: 1999
  • Stats: 662 receptions for 7,980 yards and 47 TDs
  • All-Pro: 1984
  • Pro Bowl: 1981, 1984–85

A complete player, Newsome was one of the NFL's best tight ends of the 1980s. His career totals for receptions and receiving yardage remain Cleveland team records, and his single-game yardage mark of 191 yards stood for 29 years.

Following his retirement after 13 seasons, Newsome joined Cleveland's front office and moved with the franchise to Baltimore after the 1995 season. In 2002, Newsome became the first African American general manager in NFL history, and he held that position until the end of the 2018 season. He helped the Ravens win a pair of Super Bowls.

Dante Lavelli

  • Position: End
  • College: Ohio State
  • Seasons Played: 1946–56
  • Seasons With Browns: 1946–56
  • Year Inducted: 1975
  • Stats: 386 receptions for 6,488 yards and 62 touchdowns
  • All-AAFC: 1946–47
  • All-Pro: 1953
  • Pro Bowl: 1951, 1953–54
  • Death: Age 85 in 2009

Lavelli followed a similar path to the Browns as Groza did, heading to Ohio State for a handful of games before joining the Army to fight in World War II. He joined the Browns for their inaugural season, and his sure hands helped them win seven championships during his 11-year career, which left him as the greatest receiver in team history.

A notable moment for Lavelli came in the 1950 NFL championship game, when he caught a then-record 11 passes to help Cleveland defeat Los Angeles 30–28. Late in his career, Lavelli was heavily involved in the creation of the NFL Players' Association, which was formed in 1956.

Frank Gatski

  • Position: Center
  • College: Marshall/Auburn
  • Seasons Played: 1946–57
  • Seasons With Browns: 1946–56
  • Year Inducted: 1985
  • Stats: Was a member of seven championship teams
  • All-Pro: 1951–53, 1955
  • Pro Bowl: 1956
  • Death: Age 86 in 2005

Gatski was another legend who came to the inaugural Browns after serving in the U.S. Army. A bruising lineman, Gatski won seven championships in Cleveland, helping lead the way for fellow Hall of Famers quarterback Otto Graham and fullback Marion Motley.

During his tenure, the Browns finished in the top four in scoring offense in nine of 11 seasons and led the league in offensive yardage three times. Gatski picked up an eighth championship in his final season with the Lions. In his 12-year career, Gatski never missed a game and appeared in 11 title games.

A statue of former Browns quarterback Otto Graham stands outside of FirstEnergy Stadium.

A statue of former Browns quarterback Otto Graham stands outside of FirstEnergy Stadium.

Otto Graham

  • Position: Quarterback
  • College: Northwestern
  • Seasons Played: 1946–55
  • Seasons With Browns: 1946–55
  • Year Inducted: 1965
  • Stats: 1,464 of 2,626 passing for 23,584 yards and 174 touchdowns
  • AAFC Awards: MVP, 1947–48
  • NFL Awards: MVP, 1951, '53, '55
  • All-AAFC: 1946–49
  • All-Pro: 1951–55
  • Pro Bowl: 1950–54
  • Death: Age 82 in 2003

Perhaps the greatest quarterback of his era, Graham led the Browns to a championship game in each of his 10 seasons, winning seven of them. Graham was originally drafted by the Lions in 1944, but instead of signing, he joined the U.S. Navy. By signing with the Browns in 1946, Graham joined numerous future Hall of Famers and posted a record of 114-20-4. His winning percentage remains an NFL record, as does his average yards per pass mark of 8.98 yards.

In what was expected to be his final game, Graham accounted for six touchdowns in a 56–10 thrashing of the Lions in the 1954 NFL championship game. Despite announcing his retirement, Graham returned for the 1955 season, and he still remains the best quarterback in the history of the franchise. Following his career, Graham was a coach for the Coast Guard Academy, and also coached Washington from 1966 to '68.

Leroy Kelly

  • Position: Running Back
  • College: Morgan State
  • Seasons Played: 1964–73
  • Seasons With Browns: 1964–73
  • Year Inducted: 1994
  • Stats: 1,727 attempts for 7,274 yards and 74 TDs
  • All-Pro: 1966–68
  • Pro Bowl: 1966–71

Kelly came to the Browns at the perfect time. He was able to contribute to Cleveland's last championship during his rookie season as a return man. Then, he was able to learn from legendary Hall of Famer Jim Brown for two seasons before becoming the featured running back for the Browns. And once he had that job, he was literally off and running. Kelly was a 1,000-yard rusher from 1966 to '68 and led the league in touchdowns each of those seasons.

Jim Brown

  • Position: Fullback
  • College: Syracuse
  • Seasons Played: 1957–65
  • Seasons With Browns: 1957–65
  • Year Inducted: 1971
  • Stats: 2,359 rushing attempts for 12,312 yards and 106 touchdowns
  • NFL Awards: MVP, 1957–58, '63, '65; ROY, 1957
  • All-Pro: 1957–61, 1963–65
  • Pro Bowl: 1957–65

Brown is the greatest Browns player of all-time and is often mentioned on the short list when considering the greatest football player of all-time. He spent nine years in Cleveland, leading the league in rushing in eight of those seasons and eclipsing 1,250 yards seven times.

Brown was the league MVP each of his first two seasons and added a third trophy in his final season. He left the NFL with records in all major rushing categories, and he still holds the highest career per-game rushing average of 104.3 yards. He led the Browns to the 1964 NFL championship, and while he didn't score in the game, his 151 total yards led all offensive players in the matchup.

He retired at the young age of 29 and focused on acting following his career. Brown starred in movies from 1964 to 2014, taking on 20 lead roles between 1968 and '82. He also did television work, analyzing the NFL.

Mike McCormack

  • Position: Offensive Tackle
  • College: Kansas
  • Seasons Played: 1951, 1954–62
  • Seasons With Browns: 1954–62
  • Year Inducted: 1984
  • All-Pro: 1954–62
  • Pro Bowl: 1951, 1956–57, 1960–62
  • Death: Age 83 in 2013

McCormack opened his NFL career with the Yankees, but then spent two years in the Army. He came to Cleveland in a trade with Baltimore, who had signed McCormack after his stint in the Army. After one year on the defensive line, coach Paul Brown moved McCormack to the offensive line and found himself an anchor at tackle for the next eight seasons.

The Browns finished in the top three in scoring offense in five of those eight years and won a championship in 1955. After his playing career, McCormack became a coach, eventually becoming an NFL head coach for three different teams. He moved up to become a general manager in 1982 and was the first president and GM for the Panthers.

Former Browns receiver Paul Warfield arrives during the Pro Football HOF enshrinement ceremonies at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Former Browns receiver Paul Warfield arrives during the Pro Football HOF enshrinement ceremonies at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Paul Warfield

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • College: Ohio State
  • Seasons Played: 1964–77
  • Seasons With Browns: 1964–69, 1976–77
  • Year Inducted: 1983
  • Stats: 427 receptions for 8,565 yards and 85 TDs
  • All-Pro: 1964, 1968–69
  • Pro Bowl: 1964, 1968–69

A big-play threat from the get-go, Warfield made many contributions as a rookie, helping lead the Browns to the NFL championship. That reputation followed him the rest of his career, and he still holds the record of 20.1 yards per reception among players with at least 300 catches. Warfield established himself as a star in the late '60s, and was traded to the Dolphins for a draft pick in a surprise move that is considered one of the worst trades in NFL history.

Warfield would win a pair of Super Bowls with the Dolphins and beat the Browns in the first round of the 1972 playoffs. After leaving the NFL for the World Football League in 1974, Warfield returned to the Browns for his final two seasons. He later worked as an adviser for Cleveland.

Marion Motley

  • Position: Fullback
  • College: South Carolina State/Nevada
  • Seasons Played: 1946–53, 1955
  • Seasons With Browns: 1946–53
  • Year Inducted: 1968
  • Stats: 828 attempts for 4,720 yards and 31 TDs
  • All-AAFC: 1946–49
  • All-Pro: 1948, '50
  • Pro Bowl: 1950
  • Death: Age 79 in 1999

Motley was the first in a line of great rushers for the Browns, and helped push a prolific offense to five straight championships. He came to Cleveland after a two-year stint with the U.S. Navy and maintains the career fullback record of 5.7 yards per carry. He never amassed the coveted 1,000 rushing yards in a single season, but he did lead the league in yardage in 1948 and '50.

Among the earliest Black players in the NFL, Motley became the second African American ever to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He was said to have endured many racial taunts during his career, and after retirement said he believed race was a factor in his inability to get an NFL coaching position.

Len Ford

  • Position: Defensive End
  • College: Michigan
  • Seasons Played: 1948–58
  • Seasons With Browns: 1950–57
  • Year Inducted: 1976
  • Stats: 20 fumble recoveries, 1 TD
  • All-Pro: 1951–54
  • Pro Bowl: 1951–54
  • Death: Age 46 in 1972

Ford was one of the NFL's greatest defenders during his eight-year tenure in Cleveland, helping push the Browns to three championships. Those Ford-led defenses appeared in seven championship games from 1950 to '57, and in that span, led the league in scoring defense six times. Throughout the era, Cleveland surrendered an average of 14.6 points per game and recorded 12 shutouts.

Ford began his career in the AAFC with the Los Angeles Dons and was a second-round selection of the Browns in the 1950 AAFC dispersal draft. In 1950, Ford suffered significant facial injuries during a game, and he only entered the league's championship game when the Browns struggled to stop the Rams' offense. Later, he was among the heroes in the 1954 championship game, when he recorded two interceptions in a 56–10 thrashing of the Lions.

Bill Willis

  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • College: Ohio State
  • Seasons Played: 1946–53
  • Seasons With Browns: 1946–53
  • Year Inducted: 1977
  • Stats: Won five championships with Cleveland
  • All-AAFC: 1946–49
  • All-Pro: 1950–53
  • Pro Bowl: 1950–52
  • Death: Age 86 in 2007

Willis was an anchor on the line for one of football's best defenses during his entire career. With help from Willis, the Browns were the only team in the AAFC to never surrender 200 points in a season. Once they moved to the NFL, they never finished outside the top three in scoring defense before Willis retired.

All told, Willis appeared in the playoffs all eight years of his career and picked up individual honors every season. Along with Marion Motley, Willis was one of the first Black players in the modern-era of the NFL, and after he retired, he worked with troubled youth in Ohio until his death.

Hall of Famers Who Made a Stop in Cleveland

Joe DeLamielleure

  • Position: Offensive Tackle
  • College: Michigan State
  • Seasons Played: 1973–85
  • Seasons With Browns: 1980–84
  • Year Inducted: 2003
  • Stats: First player to help block for a 2,000-yard rusher and a 4,000-yard passer

In five seasons with Cleveland, DeLamielleure never missed game, helped the Browns gain an average of 337.4 yards per game, and made the playoffs in 1980 and 1982. In 1980, he helped block for quarterback Brian Sipe, who was named Most Valuable Player. Still, DeLamielleure, who came the Browns in the middle of his career, is mostly known for his time with the Bills.

After he retired, DeLamielleure became one of the first former NFL players to have his brain tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurological condition caused by repeated head trauma.

Bobby Mitchell

  • Position: Running Back/Wide Receiver
  • College: Illinois
  • Seasons Played: 1958–68
  • Seasons With Browns: 1958–61
  • Year Inducted: 1983
  • Career Stats: 521 receptions for 7,954 yards and 65 TDs; 519 rushing attempts for 2,735 yards and 18 TDs

One of the fastest men of his era, Mitchell turned down a chance to compete for the Americans in the Olympics to pursue a football career. He briefly held a world record in the 70-yard low hurdles, but was given a $7,000 contract as a seventh-round draft pick by the Browns in 1958. Teaming up with Jim Brown, the Browns had a prolific rushing attack that got them into the playoffs in Mitchell's rookie season. In his four seasons on the lakefront, he amassed 2,297 rushing yards, 1,463 receiving yards and 38 total touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Washington was under scrutiny prior to the 1962 season for not having integrated its roster. After selecting Ernie Davis with the No. 1 draft pick, Washington traded Davis to Cleveland for Mitchell, who would become the first Black player in the nation's capital. He stayed with Washington's front office until 2002.

Willie Davis

  • Position: Defensive End
  • College: Grambling State
  • Seasons Played: 1958–69
  • Seasons With Browns: 1958–59
  • Year Inducted: 1981
  • Stats: 22 fumble recoveries

Davis had eight starts in his first two professional seasons in Cleveland, helping the Browns to the playoffs as a rookie. It wasn't until he was acquired by the Packers, however, that he began to build his Hall of Fame case.

Len Dawson

  • Position: Quarterback
  • College: Purdue
  • Seasons Played: 1957–75
  • Seasons With Browns: 1960–61
  • Year Inducted: 1987
  • Stats: 2,136 of 3,741 passing for 28,711 yards and 239 TDs

Dawson was a first-round draft choice of the Steelers, but was traded to the Browns after three seasons as a backup. He couldn't latch on in Cleveland, either, appearing in just nine games and throwing for 108 yards over two seasons. Dawson became a full-time starter the next season with the Texans—who became the Chiefs—and enjoyed a long, successful career as one of the most accurate passers of the 1960s.

Henry Jordan

  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • College: Virginia
  • Seasons Played: 1957–69
  • Seasons With Browns: 1957–58
  • Year Inducted: 1995
  • Stats: 21 fumble recoveries, 1 TD

Another Hall of Famer who started his career in Cleveland was Jordan, who was also traded to Green Bay and developed into a standout defender. Jordan appeared in 24 games for the Browns over his two seasons, recovering one fumble. He died of a heart attack in 1977 at age 42.

Doug Atkins

  • Position: Defensive End
  • College: Tennessee
  • Seasons Played: 1953–69
  • Seasons With Browns: 1953–54
  • Year Inducted: 1982
  • Stats: 11 fumble recoveries, 8 Pro Bowl selections

Atkins stood at 6-foot-8 and was an imposing defensive end. Taken as a first-round draft pick, he won a championship with the Browns in 1954 but never became the star Cleveland had hoped for and was traded to Chicago after two seasons. Atkins died in 2015 at age 85.

Tommy McDonald

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • College: Oklahoma
  • Seasons Played: 1957–68
  • Seasons With Browns: 1968
  • Year Inducted: 1998
  • Stats: 495 receptions for 8,410 yards and 84 TDs

McDonald was well-traveled during his career, playing for five teams over 12 seasons. That included his final season with the Browns, when he caught seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. McDonald died at age 84 in 2018.

Those Who Could Have Been

When longtime Browns owner Art Modell moved the franchise to Baltimore after the 1995 season, there was a trio of players drafted by the Ravens in the ensuing seasons that built Hall of Fame careers. Offensive tackle Johnathan Ogden (1996), linebacker Ray Lewis (1996) and safety Ed Reed (2002) were all successful first-round draft choices by Baltimore, headlining an era of success for the Ravens, which included two Super Bowl victories.

Would those players have been drafted by Modell if he kept the Browns in Cleveland? There's no way to know, but it's one of the more popular, "What if..." scenarios put forth by Browns fans.

Former Browns player Clay Matthews Jr. (57) waves as he is inducted into the Browns Ring of Honor during a halftime show against the Rams in 2019.

Former Browns player Clay Matthews Jr. (57) waves as he is inducted into the Browns Ring of Honor during a halftime show against the Rams in 2019.

Potential Browns Hall of Famers in Waiting

Since the Browns returned as an expansion franchise in 1999, there hasn't been much Hall of Fame–caliber talent on the roster. The most significant player for Cleveland was offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who never missed a snap in his first 10 seasons and made 10 Pro Bowls. He'll be eligible to be inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2023 and is expected to be inducted on the first ballot.

Former wide receiver Mac Speedie was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020 as a member of the Centennial Class, a special 15-man class to celebrate the 100th season of the NFL. Speedie was one of the best receivers in Browns history, crossing the 1,000-yard mark twice in the 1940s. He was a three-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team. Former Browns owner Art Modell was a finalist for the Centennial Class.

Modern-era nominees for the 2020 Hall of Fame class included several former Browns: Josh Cribbs, Clay Matthews, Earnest Byner, Frank Minnifield, Eric Metcalf, Jake Delhomme, Jeff Garcia, Lomas Brown and Carl Banks.

On Nov. 26, 2019, it was announced that Matthews was named a semifinalist for the second straight year and fourth time overall. Banks, meanwhile, was named a semifinalist for the first time. Neither player, however, was named a finalist when the list was narrowed to 15 on Jan. 2, 2020.