The Cleveland Browns are 80 days away from the start of the NFL regular season, which is also the uniform number of one of the best defensive lineman in league history.
In just 80 days the Cleveland Browns will take the field at FirstEnergy Stadium as they host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opener of the 2017 NFL season.
Uniform number 80 has been a mixed bag over the years for the players who have worn it in Cleveland.
There have been disappointments, most notably at wide receiver – Brian Robiskie, Andre Rison, Willis Adams and Dwayne Bowe have all worn the number – and some that got away – most notably defensive end Jim Marshall, who wore the number for 12 games in 1960 before going on to a Hall of Fame career with the Minnesota Vikings.
Not everyone was bad, of course, as Bill Glass was a member of the 1964 title team.
The best, however, was Hall of Fame defensive end Len Ford, who wore No. 80 for part of his eight years with the Browns in the 1950s.
According to his page on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website, the Browns were familiar with Ford from his All-American Football Conference days and were in the right place at the right time to acquire him:
"When the AAFC disbanded after the 1949 season, Ford was placed in a special draft pool. The Cleveland Browns, who earmarked him for their defensive platoon, quickly grabbed him. It wasn’t long before Ford was recognized as the very best of many stars on a unit that allowed the fewest points of any NFL team six of seven years in the 1951-1957 period."
"Ford developed into such a devastating pass rusher that the Browns changed their whole defensive alignment to take advantage of his rare talents. By using the linebackers behind the two ends and a pair of tackles, Cleveland in effect created the first 4-3 defense. This enabled Ford to line up closer to the ball-handling action and have a better shot at enemy quarterbacks."
Uniform No. 80 hasn’t always been the best for the Browns, but Ford certainly brought glory to the number when he wore it.
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