Greatest defensive backs in Cleveland Browns history: #9. Bernie Parrish
Bernie Parrish was a gifted athlete who played both sides of the field for the Florida Gators in the 1950s. A star running back, Parrish also played defensive back — and even kicked some for the team. Not only was he a stud on the football field, but Parrish also played baseball for the Gators and was really good at that as he led the team in home runs, RBI and hits in 1958.
Even with his impressive resume, Parrish saw 107 players picked in the 1959 NFL Draft before his name was called. The Browns were fine with the way that developed because it gave them a great player, while not costing them a high pick.
Parrish often showed off his running back roots when he would get the ball in his hands, as he had three career touchdowns off his 27 interceptions. He was credited with 557 yards on those returns and had 238 of those in 1960 — which was the same season he electrified crowds with a 92-yard pick-six.
The defensive back was also the team representative for the NFLPA and was eventually moved to the vice president position.
His time with the Browns ended early in the 1966 NFL season when he grew frustrated at the team for wanting him to split time. Coming off a season with four interceptions, Parrish felt he still had plenty to offer and should start.
Cleveland granted his wish and finished his career playing 11 games with the then-Houston Oilers in the AFL before deciding to retire. His career wasn’t especially long, but he was a great player during that stretch.