Countdown to 2020: Best Cleveland Browns player to wear No. 79

Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck /Allsport
Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck /Allsport /

The best Cleveland Browns player to ever wear number 79

The countdown to the 2020 NFL season is upon us. With 79 days remaining until the Browns season opener, we continue the countdown by celebrating the best Cleveland Browns player to ever wear number 79 — Bob Gain.

Bob Gain’s entire NFL 12-year NFL career was spent playing defense for the Cleveland Browns. However, the Browns are not the team that drafted Gain. After a stellar collegiate career with the Kentucky Wildcats, that saw Gain attain All-American status as well as winning the Outland Trophy in 1950, he was selected with the fifth-overall pick in the 1951 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Gain never put on the Packer uniform, instead; opting to play in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders. After one year in the CFL, Gain, who was born in Willoughby, Ohio, decided to come home and play for his hometown Browns.

Gain arrived in Cleveland in 1952 and started at left defensive tackle in all six games that he appeared in. However, Gain put his professional career on hold so that he could serve in the Korean War. Gain, who was a 1st Lieutenant during his time in the Air Force, returned to Cleveland in 1954 and resumed his playing career.

From 1955 through 1964 Gain was a stalwart on the defensive line for the Browns. Gain was a huge part of Cleveland’s defensive success all throughout his career. In fact, Gain played on some of the best, and most unheralded, defensive lines of all time in the NFL, lining up alongside players like Len Ford, Paul Wiggin, Don Colo, Carlton Massey, and Jim Houston.

The defensive lineman racked up five-straight second-team All-Pro nominations from 1955 through 1959. In total, Gain was named second-team All-Pro seven times during his career. Gain was also selected to the Pro Bowl five times for his defensive efforts.

Gain retired after the 1964 NFL Championship game, his third championship with the Browns. Although his name has never been called in Canton, you can find Gain in several Hall of Fames. He was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame for his high school career in Weirton, WV, and he was the first University of Kentucky player ever inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

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Gain was later inducted into the Cleveland Browns Legends Program in 2003 and is the best number 79 in team history.

Honorable Mention: Bob Golic.