Cleveland Browns: 15 best defensive backs of all time

Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) /
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Frank Minnifield, Cleveland Browns
Frank Minnifield, Cleveland Browns. (Getty Images) /

1984-92. Frank Minnifield. 4. player. 53. . CB

Greatest defensive backs in Cleveland Browns history: #4. Frank Minnifield

At just 5-foot-9 and 180-pounds, Frank Minnifield always had his size questioned. When he left high school, he reportedly was under 150 pounds. That led to him having to walk-on at Louisville. He ended up proving his worth, as the school gave him a scholarship for his final three seasons. Minnifield proved to be a great player for them on defense and as a returner.

Even though he did lead the nation in return yards as a junior, NFL teams passed on him in the draft. He had to start out with the USFL as a member of the Chicago Blitz in 1983 and the Arizona Wranglers in 1984.

He ended up leaving Arizona after a legal battle and was signed to the Browns during the 1984 NFL season. He proved to be quite a steal for them, as he was a four-time Pro Bowl player and was named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team.

A physical corner, Minnifield never let his size become an issue. He was also one-half of one of the best defensive backfields in the league, as he and Hanford Dixon made life hard on opposing quarterbacks throughout the 1980s.

Minnifield finished his career with 20 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. He appeared in eight playoff games as well and even registered a pick-six for Cleveland in 1987.

In addition to his play, Minnifield helped form the ‘Dawg Pound’ in the Browns stadium. Hanford Dixon is credited for the name, but Minnifield was right there with him barking at the fans to get them fired up before the games.