Cleveland Browns: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Wide Receiver/Punter. (1962-1971). Gary Collins. 30. player. 53.

Greatest players in Cleveland Browns history: 30. Gary Collins

The first player to get highlighted in our top-30 Browns players of all-time is one of the original ‘slash’ players. In 1962, Cleveland used the No. 4 overall pick on a 6-foot-5 wide receiver out of Maryland, Gary Collins. He didn’t help them at just one position though.

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Collins was the team’s primary punter from his rookie season until 1967. He still kicked a couple of times after that but wasn’t their main option. As good as he was catching the ball, Collins was just as talented kicking it away.

He averaged more than 40-yards per punt for his career, with a personal best 46.7 in 1965. That happened to be one of the three seasons he was named to the All-Pro team and one of two he was honored as a Pro Bowl player.

Where Collins really made his mark though was as a pass catcher. He led the NFL in touchdowns in 1963 when he brought down 13. He hit double digits three other times and finished his career with 70 touchdowns for the Browns.

Back in the day of run-heavy football, Collins never topped 1,000-yards as a receiver, but he proved to be a reliable player that seemed to always come down with the key receptions.