Cleveland Browns: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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player. 53. . Kicker/Offensive Tackle. (1946-1959, 1961-1967). Lou Groza. 8

Greatest players in Cleveland Browns history: 8. Lou Groza

Known as “The Toe,” Lou Groza played 21 seasons with the Browns, by far the longest in pro football in that era. Groza was a member of the organization’s inaugural team, and he played until 1967 after missing only the 1960 season because of a back injury.

Groza considered himself an offensive lineman that also kicked field goals. But Groza is known in football history as the original placekicker, and one of the best kickers of all-time. Groza was one of the first kickers that coaches trusted enough that they would decide to settle for a field goal instead of going for touchdowns.

During his time as a kicker, Groza tallied 1,608 points. For a long time, he was the all-time leading scorer in NFL history.

In his career, Groza won eight championships, four in the AAFC and four in the NFL. He played in nine Pro Bowls in his career, including six as an offensive tackle. Groza was named a first-team or second-team all-league eight times in his career.

Groza was named to the NFL 1950’s All-Decade Team and was also named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.