Cleveland Browns: Top 30 moments of all-time

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Ernie Davis’ story is one of the most tragic in the history of sports. After being a star at Syracuse and being the first overall pick in the 1962 NFL Draft, Davis was diagnosed with leukemia and died before ever playing a down in the NFL.

The tragedy served to separate the competitiveness of sports from the humanity of those playing the game. Davis would have joined Jim Brown in the backfield, possibly creating one of the greatest backfields in NFL history.

Davis was a star in his short career, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1961 and becoming the first African-American player to win the award. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

His passing did not set the Browns back on the field, but the lost potential will always remain a question of what could have been. Losing any athlete is an incredibly sad event, made even sadder when realizing the player could have changed the face of the sport.

Davis would have played alongside his idol, Jim Brown, a dream for any athlete in any sport.

While he never got to play in the NFL, his story has been dramatized in both book and film form, thus making his story an inspiration to this day. – SK

Next: No. 15: The debut of Monday Night Football