Tim Couch, QB, 1999-2003
Tim Couch was drafted No.1 by the Browns in 1999 when they were an expansion team — following their rebirth.
Couch was dealt a bad hand as his team didn’t have many veterans and was put together too quickly to have any chance of succeeding in the NFL. Given a different team or different window in time he probably could have found success.
The main issue for Couch was his shoddy offensive line which led to him being sacked fat too often during his time in Cleveland. That initial season he was sacked an unbelievable 56 times.
He lasted through 2003 with the Browns and in all, he was sacked 156 times. Couch did though bring Cleveland back to respectability by 2001 and 2002. The team made it to the playoffs in 2002 and though he was injured for the playoff game, he was a big reason for their success.
Those were tough years getting rebooted as a franchise and Couch hung in there the whole time.
Josh Cribbs, WR, KR, 2005-2012
What can you not say about Josh Cribbs and how valuable he was during some very rough years of losing football in Cleveland? While he’s valued by Browns fans most other NFL fans wouldn’t know much about Cribbs and his time with the team between 2005 and 2011.
He was a hugely versatile player. He came to the NFL after being a quarterback at Kent State then played all over the field for the Browns.
While in Cleveland, he returned kicks and punts. He ran the ball. He caught the ball. He did almost everything for the Browns. He could have probably played a defensive position if asked back then.
In 2009 he ran the ball 55 times for 381 yards. By 2011 he caught 41 passes for 518 yards and had four touchdowns.
But it was his touchdowns on kick and punt returns that most Browns fans remember his game by. In 2009 when the Browns were lousy, they played the Kansas City Chiefs in a late-season affair.
Cribbs bolted for two kick returns for touchdowns in that game alone. It was those types of moments that always made fans watch for the next big moment. Cribbs always tried to help his team out even when the team had poor seasons.