The Best Cleveland Browns player to wear No. 82
The countdown to the 2020 NFL season is upon us. With 82 days remaining until the Browns season opener, we continue the countdown by celebrating the best Cleveland Browns player to ever wear number 82 — Ozzie Newsome.
Ozzie Newsome was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 23rd overall pick in the 1978 NFL draft out of the University of Alabama. Newsome was an exemplary player while at Alabama and was able to amass unreal stats while in Tuscaloosa. An impressive feat considering Crimson Tide head coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant teams’ were not known for throwing the ball all over the field.
Newsome was twice named first-team All-SEC and, in his senior year, he was named a Consensus All-American in 1977. Newsome has an award named after him that is given to the best tight end in college football by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. In 1994, Newsome was enshrined to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Newsome wasted no time making his impact after he arrived in Cleveland. He was a day one starter for the Browns and finished second on the team in receptions (38) and receiving yards (589) in his rookie year. He was impressively voted the Browns offensive player of the year as a rookie. Newsome was also named to the All-Rookie Team by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Newsome was consistently excellent during his time as a Brown. He was recognized for his achievements almost annually. In his second, third, fourth, and sixth seasons, Newsome was named Second-Team All-Pro for his stellar play.
In 1984, Newsome caught 89 passes for the second-straight season and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his illustrious career. He also had the greatest game of his career that year when he caught 14 passes for 189 yards against the New York Jets. Newsome was named First-Team All-Pro and the Pro Bowl for his tremendous efforts. He followed that up with another remarkable season in 1985 that saw him named to the Pro Bowl yet again as well as the Second-Team All-Pro for the fifth time.
By the time the longtime team captain hung up his cleats, he played in 198 games during his 13-year career and retired as the most productive tight end in the history of the NFL. Newsome finished his career with 662 receptions for 7,980 yards and 47 touchdowns. Those numbers also put him as the fourth most productive receiver of all time at the time of his retirement.
Newsome is still the Cleveland Browns All-Time leader in receptions and receiving yards. He has more than 300 receptions and 2,500 receiving yards than second place in team history. A testament to consistency, Newsome caught at least one pass in 150 straight games. Newsome was also named to the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team.
Newsome, who was consistently excellent over a span of 13 seasons, was ultimately bestowed the most prestigious award a player can achieve when he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Honorable mention: Jim Houston.