Tag Archives: cleveland browns

Pruitt, Greg

Card: Topps 1978
Acquired: 2016, Future Considerations

An elusive and explosive back out of the backfield at the University of Oklahoma, Greg Pruitt finished 3rd in Heisman voting in 1971 and 2nd in 1972. The All-American rushed for 3,122 yards and 41 touchdowns for the Sooners over his time there.  Measuring up at 5’10”, 190 Pruitt was lucky not to take a pounding, because defenders rarely got squared up on him.

The Cleveland Browns were intrigued by the diminutive back,  and selected Greg with their second round pick of the 1973 draft slotting him behind their future HOF runningback Leroy Kelly. Pruitt was as advertised and immediately added an extra charge to the Browns offense primarily as a kick returner and punt returner. In 4 of his first 5 seasons, Greg earned Pro Bowl honors. It’d be in 1975 that he’d really hit his stride as a runningback, cranking out 3 straight 1,000+ yard seasons in a row as well as demonstrating a knack as a reliable receiving option out of the backfield.  In 1974 and 1975, Pruitt had nearly 1,800 all purpose yards, and achieved at least 1,100 all purpose yards 6 times over 12 seasons.  He’d enjoy career highs at receptions in 1980 (50) and then 1981 (65), before taking his show to Oakland to join the Raiders as their return man. In 1983 he’d lead the NFL in punt returns, putting together a whopping 58 returns for 666 yards and a 97 yard TD, earning his final pro bowl berth. The 58 returns and 97 yard TD were second in NFL history, while the 666 yards was an NFL record (all since surpassed).  He’d win a Superbowl XVIII ring and retire after the 1984 season.

Greg Pruitt had some amazing highlight film of him running through defenders hands as they literally tore his jerseys off his pads. The problem was he intentionally wore those tear away jerseys so he could shake off those pesky tacklers.  In response the NFL enacted the ‘Greg Pruitt Rule’ preventing any player from wearing tear away jerseys in 1979.

Greg was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Cleveland Browns Legends Class of 2001.  Many of his records still stand tall on the Browns records lists, both single season and career. He currently lives in the Cleveland area where he owns a construction company.

DeadHorse went to a nearby signing to him in Ohio and came up with a few signatures for me from old Browns runningback greats Earnest Byner, Kevin Mack, and Greg Pruitt.  Thankfully DeadHorse was paying attention as I got Greg and Mike Pruitt confused. He switched out my Mike Pruitt card and came through with a nice autograph for the collection.

G/GS  158/82     RUSH   1196    YDS  5672    AVG 4.7    TD 27   LG 78t
REC 328     YDS 3069    AVG 9.4    TD 18    LG 60t
KR  106    YDS 2514   AVG 23.7    TD 1    LG 88t
PR  194    YDS 2007  AVG 10.3    TD 1   LG 97t

Gonzalez, Zane

Card: Sage 2017
Acquired: 2017, Box Breaker

Looking at the stat line, Zane Gonzalez stands first in FBS history nailing 96 field goals over his 4 years at Arizona St.  He’s also pretty accurate hitting about 86% of those attempts, including 23 of 25 as a Senior for the Sun Devils. Gonzalez has a strong leg and has steadily improved over the last 3 years. Scouts ding him on the angle he takes in pursuit of kick returners, but let’s face it- he’s a kicker, not a torpedo.  Facts aside that he’s not Neil Rackers, Gonzalez was selected in the seventh round of the 2017 draft by the Cleveland Browns, where he will go head to head with Cody Parkey in camp.

Dawson, Len

Card: ProSet 1990 Super Bowl MVP
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Work
Sent: 12/15   Received: 12/31   (16 days)
Failure: 2013, C/o Work

Len Dawson saw a storied NFL career that stretched from the late 50s to the mid 70s.  After putting together a strong career at Perdue, Dawson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with their #1 pick in 1957.  Unable to dislodge Bobby Layne from the starter position, Dawson was traded to the Cleveland Browns in 1960 where he also faced an uphill battle for the starting position under center. He’d join the rival American Football League in 1962, where he’d become the unquestioned starter of the Dallas Texans.  Power plugged into the Texans offense,  Dawson immediately turned the franchise into contenders going toe to toe with the Houston Oilers and winning the AFL Championship. Soon thereafter the Texans moved to Kansas City and Len went on to record numerous accolades including league single-game and season records including career touchdowns with 182 for the American Football League.

The AFL had never earned the respect of the NFL brass. They felt that the AFL played an inferior kind of ball- even though Joe Namath led the Jets to victory the previous year in Super Bowl III. While the Chiefs appeared to be snake bitten all season long- with injuries to Len or just plain bad luck, they made the playoffs after not even winning their division. The Chiefs then dethroned the Jets on their home field in the first round, and then beat the Raiders on the road in Oakland – after not even beating them during the regular season. The hard fought victory, didn’t bring the Chiefs any respect. In fact, most media and sports writers had predicted that the Minnesota Vikings were going to roll Kansas City in Super Bowl IV.

Instead, KC which had become used to the underdog role, relished in victory, smothering the Vikings 23-7.  Dawson paced the Chiefs throwing for 142 yards and a TD on 12 of 17 passing, earning himself MVP honors- all while under duress of a gambling probe that was proven unfounded.  Dawson avenged himself for his previous loss to the NFL, when the Chiefs lost to the Packers in Super Bowl I.
Len played an additional 5 more seasons retiring after the 1975 season- after 19 seasons.

Len is incredibly popular in Kansas City Chiefs’ lore. He had his number retired and was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame. Dawson has done color commentary and insider reporting in the NFL for many years. In 1987 Len was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As of 2017, Len is a sports anchor for a Kansas City NBC affiliate.

G/GS 211/159    ATT 3741    COMP  2136   YDS 28711    PCT    57.1
TD 239    INT 183     RAT  82.6
RUSH 294    YDS1293     AVG 4.4    TD 9      LG 43