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Ryan Harris for Bookies.com

By Ryan Harris | | 4 mins

Cleveland Browns NFL Ring of Honor: Brown, Thomas, Hickerson & Kelly

Cleveland Browns NFL Ring of Honor: Brown, Thomas, Hickerson & Kelly

We're taking a look at the best four players to have ever played for each of the 32 NFL franchises. Let's reveal the four greatest Browns according to our Bookies.com algorithm...

When the Browns joined the AAFC in 1946, they proceeded to make it to ten straight championship games, in which they had a record of 7-3. 

Following a ten-year drought, they won their eighth and final championship in 1964. Since then, they have only made the playoffs twice since 2002. Since becoming a team in 1946, the Browns have both kept their city and team name intact.

Now, 2020 coach of the year Kevin Stefanski is leading the Browns and hoping for his second playoff appearance in three years. A team that has added offensive weapons in Amari Cooper and Deshaun Watson (currently on a six-game suspension) will create a spark in Cleveland alongside running back duo Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

Cleveland Browns NFL Ring of Honor

Player HOFm wAV Bookies Score
Jim Brown 182.79 108 145.395
Joe Thomas 112.48 85 98.74
Gene Hickerson 80.2 88 84.1
Leroy Kelly 79.55 87 83.275

No. 1 - Jim Brown

Jim Brown, the only rookie to win both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player award in the same season, spearheaded the running game, not just for the Browns, but for the entire NFL. 

As an All-NFL player in eight of his nine seasons and with four total MVPs, Brown was a force to be reckoned with his entire career. His 12,312 rushing yards, going along with 126 total touchdowns, make him not just the best running back in Cleveland Brown's history, but one of the best in the entire league’s history.

No. 2 - Joe Thomas

10,363 consecutive snaps. A record that is unlikely to be broken anytime soon and one of the things that makes Joe Thomas great. He was Mr. Consistent and the glue in the offensive line of a struggling team that made the offense look much better.

During his career with Cleveland, he only gave up 61 penalties in total. In his 11 seasons in the NFL, he went to the Pro Bowl ten times, along with seven first-team All-Pro honors.

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No. 3 - Gene Hickerson

Not many players will have the honor of blocking for two Hall of Fame running backs. Gene Hickerson blocked for both Jim Brown during the beginning of his career and Leroy Kelly for the second half. 

Hickerson was a staple on the offensive line and very heavily assisted the Hall of Fame careers by his running backs. During his time he was awarded six Pro Bowl appearances and four All-Pro honors.

No. 4 - Leroy Kelly

Leroy Kelly, the heir to Jim Brown, had himself about as good of a career as you can have after following up a player like Brown. After learning behind Brown for one season, Kelly was able to hit over 1,000 scrimmage yards in six different seasons. 

Kelly was awarded four All-Pro honors and made six Pro Bowl appearances, just like Gene Hickerson. Kelly was in the running for MVP three times and was second in votes during his best season in 1968. For following in Jim Brown’s footsteps, Kelly was an incredible weapon and running back for the Cleveland Browns.


Methodology

To determine the Ring of Honor for the Cleveland Browns, Bookies.com utilized the website, ProFootballReference.com to gather for each player: 

  1. Career Weighted Approximate Value (Career AV)
  2. Hall of Fame Monitor score

After those findings, we averaged the two data sets to develop our rankings for the players to determine the top four players included in the Ring of Honor. 

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About the Author

Ryan Harris for Bookies.com
Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris is a Writer at Bookies.com. He joined in 2022 after writing NFL content for FanSided.