Clay Matthews, LB 1978-1993
When Browns fans think of a very undervalued player that hasn’t gotten the recognition that he deserves most say Clay Matthews, their stud linebacker who played from 1978 through 1993. He was the heart and soul of the team in the 16 seasons he played in Cleveland.
How he’s not in the NFL Hall of Fame is one of the bigger mysteries. It’s a shame he hasn’t been selected yet and the NFL needs to recognize Matthews in a future Hall of Fame ceremony.
He was a tackling machine in his day. He finished with 1,430 tackles and also had an impressive 75 sacks. He forced 24 fumbles and recovered 13 fumbles and had 14 interceptions in those Cleveland years. In 1983 he forced four fumbles alone.
One of his biggest career interceptions happened in the 1990 AFC Divisional playoff game against the ever-improving Buffalo Bills led by Jim Kelly. In the closing seconds of that game, the Browns were clinging to a 34-30 lead and Matthews was able to pick off Kelly with a throw he tried making at the goal line, securing the win.
The length of Matthews’s career has to be acknowledged too. He saw a lot as a Browns player and was there when the team struggled and was there at the end when they were challenging for Super Bowls in the late 1980s.
I hope sooner than later Matthews gets his moment in Canton and will enter the Hall of Fame, a place he is long overdue to be part of.
Brian Hoyer, QB, 2014-2015
If it weren’t for Johnny football, also known as Johnny Manziel, the cocky and overhyped former quarterback of the Browns, Brian Hoyer might have achieved much more as a Browns quarterback. A dark cloud of negativity hung over the Browns while Manziel was a member of the team between 2014 and 2015. He was a lazy player and was basically the polar opposite of Hoyer.
While Manziel’s career lasted just over a year or so, Hoyer is still in the NFL. That should tell you a bit of the story when the two were teammates with Cleveland back in 2014. Hoyer was the primary backup quarterback in 2013 behind starter Brandon Weeden. But early on in the season, Hoyer replaced Weeden and won his three starts.
The following season Hoyer looked to be the starter going into the season, but the Browns decided to roll the dice and drafted Manziel in the offseason. While Hoyer would start the season, the entire dialogue was about when would Manziel become the starter.
Even though at the time, Manziel was found partying and skipping out on the Browns. The pressure started to rev up more as the season moved forward, even though the disaster that awaited was very evident in the build upbuild-up to the change in quarterback.
Hoyer started the 2014 season and led the Browns to an impressive 7-4 record but when they struggled a slight bit, Manziel got the nod to start. Johnny Football did nothing in his starts primarily because he wasn’t prepared after all of his off-field problems.
It was a terrible decision by the Browns to replace Hoyer at the time and it led to the hometown product leaving the team the next season.
Hoyer did a lot in his short time with the team, but he made his teammates better and that hasn’t been acknowledged enough to this day.