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) /
26 of 31
Cleveland Browns
A view of the Cleveland Browns helmets. Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck /Allsport /

53. . Running Back. (1964-1973). Leroy Kelly. 6. player

Greatest players in Cleveland Browns history: 6. Leroy Kelly

Having to replace one of the all-time greats in the sport is a tall task to ask of anybody, but Leroy Kelly made it look easier than it was. The running back was on the bench the first two years of his career as he watched Jim Brown tear apart defenses. But after Brown retired, Kelly was the man that had to fill the void.

Not only did Kelly fill the void, he became one of the most prolific rushers in Cleveland Browns history. In Kelly’s first season starting, he rushed for 1,141 yards and 15 touchdowns-which were the most in the NFL that season. He then followed that season by being the NFL’s best rusher the next two seasons, rushing for the most yards and touchdowns in 1967 and 1968.

Overall, Kelly rushed for 7,274 yards and 74 touchdowns. He is second in both categories in Cleveland Browns history, only behind Brown.

Kelly won one NFL Championship with the Browns in 1964. He made it to the Pro Bowl six times in his career and was named a first-team All-Pro three times in his career. Kelly was named to the NFL 1960’s All-Decade Team. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.