Countdown to 2020: Best Cleveland Browns player to wear No. 38
Who is the best player to wear No. 38 for the Cleveland Browns?
The countdown to the 2020 NFL season is upon us. With 38 days remaining until the Browns season opener, we continue the countdown by celebrating the best Cleveland Browns player to ever wear number 38: Antonio Langham.
Antonio Langham was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 1994 NFL draft out of the University of Alabama. Langham had quite the career as a member of the Crimson Tide. In his sophomore year, during the South Eastern Conference Championship game, Langham returned an interception for a touchdown that sealed the win and sent the team to play for the National Championship. Alabama would go on to win the 1992 National Championship.
During his junior year, Langham turned in a season that made him a unanimous first-team All-American selection. Langham would also go on to win the 1993 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. It would later be revealed that Langham had signed with an agent, thus making him ineligible and the team would be forced to forfeit eight games and a tie. To this day, Langham remains the all-time leader in interceptions for the Crimson Tide with 19.
Langham arrived in Cleveland with all the expectations of a high first-round pick. He was named the starting left cornerback early into training camp and never relinquished the position. Langham’s rookie season would coincide with one of the best team defensive performances in the history of the Browns’ franchise. The 1994 Browns defense only gave up an astounding 204 points on the season.
Although Langham only recorded two interceptions in his rookie year, he did prove to be an all-around player at cornerback. His ability to be a sure tackler was a welcome addition to defensive coordinator Nick Saban’s defense. Langham racked up 61 total tackles, with 55 of those being solo tackles, as a rookie.
Langham played even better in his sophomore campaign, although the team did not enjoy the same overall success. The second-year cornerback once again intercepted two passes and proved himself to be solid against the run. Langham turned in 66 solo tackles, which would prove to be his career-high, and had an additional eight assisted tackles.
The story of the 1995 Browns is one that will never sit well in the hearts and minds of Browns fans. From starting the season as a Super Bowl favorite to having the rug pulled out from underneath of them by owner Art Modell, who announced the team would be relocating to Baltimore the following season, the 1995 Browns are a stark reminder of the bottom line of the business of professional sports. The move by Modell put the players in an absolutely terrible position. Whether they agreed with the move or not the players were still under contract and had to abide by the name that signs their checks.
Langham along with the rest of the former Browns that were still under contract reported to Baltimore to form the Ravens. Langham would later return to Cleveland to play for the 1999 Browns. He was one of two players that were forced to go to Baltimore that returned for the Browns rebirth, the other was offensive lineman Orlando Brown.
Even though Langham only played three total seasons for the Browns, he remains the best number 38 in team history.