Who is the best player to wear number 68 for the Cleveland Browns?
The Countdown to the 2020 NFL season is upon us. With 68 days remaining until the Browns season opener, we continue the countdown by celebrating the best Cleveland Browns player to ever wear number 68: Robert Jackson.
Robert Jackson was not selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1975 NFL draft. Jackson was not selected by any NFL team during the 17-round draft. Luckily for the Browns, someone in the scouting department liked his size, athleticism, and versatility enough to offer Jackson a chance to compete at training camp as an undrafted free agent.
Jackson played his college career at Duke University. When Jackson arrived at Duke, he did so as a quarterback. By the time his junior season came around, Jackson had undergone multiple position changes before landing at offensive tackle.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 255lbs., the Browns had no intention of bringing Jackson in to compete to be an offensive tackle. If Jackson were going to make the Browns roster in 1975, he was going to have to do so at guard.
Jackson arrived at training camp at the Kent State campus in Northern Ohio with only one thing in mind; work. Jackson kept his head down and he worked. The roster cuts came and went, and when the dust settled Jackson had made the roster.
Fast forward to the eighth game of Jackson’s rookie season and he was given the opportunity to start at right guard. Jackson seized the opportunity and held on to that position for six straight years. During those six years, Jackson had many memorable battles with the Pittsburgh Steelers and ‘Mean’ Joe Greene. Many considered ‘Mean’ Joe to be the best defensive tackle in all the NFL. Jackson never backed down from Greene and always held his own against the All-Pro defensive tackle.
Jackson’s story with the Cleveland Browns did not come to an end after his days at right guard came to a close, he simply moved to the other side of the line. Jackson played five more seasons as the Browns left guard. For four of those seasons, Jackson played next to Doug Dieken. The two bruising offensive linemen, who were also great friends off of the field, formed a great tandem on the left side of the Browns line.
After the conclusion of the 1985 season, Jackson retired and chose to go into the insurance business with the aforementioned Dieken. The two former teammates formed Jackson Dieken and Associates.
From starting college as a quarterback to going undrafted, and then playing offensive guard for 11 years for the Browns, Jackson had quite the football odyssey.
In 2014, Robert Jackson was named to the Cleveland Browns legends program. Without a doubt, Jackson is the best player to ever wear number 68 for the franchise.