Cleveland Browns: 15 best running backs of all-time

Full back Mike Pruitt #43 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Full back Mike Pruitt #43 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) /
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. FB. 1946-1953. Marion Motley. 5. player. 53

We now start to get into the top-5 running backs of all-time for the Browns. We’re also starting to see players from a different era — like Marion Motley. Listed as a fullback, Motley wore No. 76 as he was expected to play linebacker. He ended up playing both during his eight seasons with Cleveland, but it was as a runner where he made his mark.

Motley also played during a time when racial issues were still a major problem. He was working at a steel mill and got his chance since the team needed a roommate for Bill Willis — who was the first African-American player in the AAFC. Motley took advantage of the chance he was given and ended up being the featured back, despite being listed as a fullback.

In 1950, he ended up leading the NFL in rushing yards and was a two-time member of the First-Team All NFL. Motley was part of four championships runs in the AAFC before the Browns moved to the NFL — where they again won a title in their first season in the new league.

Working alongside Otto Graham and wideout Mac Speedie, Motley and the Browns were a force. However, his bruising style of play — which including some fantastic blocking — took its toll on Motley. Knee problems caused him to retire in 1953. He did return to the NFL in 1955 for one more season, but that year he played linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In 1968, Motley was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a well-deserved honor for a talented player who almost was overlooked for the wrong reasons.