Cleveland Browns: 5 best second-round picks of all-time
By Thomas Moore
There wasn’t anything that Greg Pruitt could not do for the Cleveland Browns in the 1970s.
As a runner, Pruitt hit the 1,000-yard mark in rushing three times (and just missed a fourth) from 1975 through 1978 during the NFL’s 14-game schedule. He is fourth on the team’s all-time rushing list with 5,496 yards while averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and eighth in rushing touchdowns with 27.
As a pass catcher, he averaged 42 receptions a year (a number brought down by an injury-plagued 1979 season) from 1975 through 1981, and is fifth all-time with 523 receptions, and top 20 in both receiving yards (3,022) and receiving touchdowns (17).
He also added six touchdown passes during his tenure with the Browns, making him a true triple threat on offense.
A four-time Pro Bowler with the Browns, the first two thanks to his work as a return man, if the Browns were going to do anything on offense in the 1970s Pruitt was sure to be a part of it.
He also made the tear-away jersey, which he first wore at Oklahoma, a part of his offensive repertoire.
“My style was elusive,” Pruitt told the Browns website in 2015. “Nobody could get ever get a squared-up, dead, knockout blow on me but they were always reaching and grabbing because of my size. They could actually tackle me that way. With the tear-aways, they didn’t get me right, they’d end up with just a jersey in their hand and I’d be gone.”
But it wasn’t all the jersey, of course.
“I want them to know I was getting a lot of yards before the tear-away,” Pruitt said. “It’s not like magic. You’ve got to do something in the jersey.”
The NFL would ultimately outlaw the jerseys starting with the 1979 season.
Next: Wide receiver Webster Slaughter (1986 to 1991)