Countdown to 2020: Best Cleveland Browns player to wear No. 24
Who is the best player to wear number 24 in the history of the Cleveland Browns?
The countdown to the 2020 NFL season is upon us. With 24 days remaining until the Browns season opener, we continue the countdown by celebrating the best Cleveland Browns player to ever wear number 24: Warren Lahr.
Warren Lahr was a standout football player for Wyoming High School in eastern Pennsylvania. Despite Lahr’s individual success, because of his team’s lack of success Lahr only received one lone scholarship offer. The offer came from Western Reserve University (present-day Case Western) in Cleveland, Ohio. Lahr accepted the scholarship but after his sophomore year, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served three years during World War II.
After his service time had concluded Lahr returned to Western Reserve to finish out his collegiate eligibility. Lahr enjoyed success as a halfback and even played quarterback for half of his senior season. He was then drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the final round of the 1947 NFL draft.
However, after suffering a knee injury during training camp he was released. Lahr landed on his feet and signed with the Cleveland Browns of the AAFC. Due to his knee injury, Lahr was allowed time to heal and sat out the 1948 season.
He made his debut with the Browns in 1949 as a jack of all trades. Coach Paul Brown played Lahr at halfback, defensive back, punt returner, kickoff returner, and as a punter. Although he did not start any games, he proved to be a vital part to the Browns’ success in his rookie season that culminated with team winning it’s last AAFC Championship.
In 1950, the Browns made their NFL debut and Lahr became a full-time starter at defensive halfback. The move to make No. 24 a permanent fixture on the defensive paid off, as the second-year player intercepted eight passes and scored two defensive touchdowns. The Browns, aided by Lahr’s two interceptions, were able to win the 1950 NFL Championship game.
Lahr would go on to be a mainstay in the Browns defensive backfield for the next nine seasons. He was named to the All-NFL first team twice as well and was named to the second team on four occasions. Lahr was also named to the Pro Bowl in 1953.
After his playing career concluded, Lahr worked as the Browns color commentator for five seasons. He was paired with the quintessential play-by-play man and broadcasting legend, Ken Coleman. In 1949, Lahr suffered a heart attack and passed away at the age of 45.
Lahr is second in team history with 44 career interceptions, trailing Thom Darden by one pick. Over the course of his phenomenal career, Lahr returned five interceptions for touchdowns which is still a Browns’ team record to this day. Lahr was inducted into the Browns Legends Program in 2008.
Warren Lahr is a true Browns’ legend and is the best player to ever wear number 24 in the history of the franchise.