Since the Browns are not playing in the Super Bowl, the only way to try to have some type of connection to Super Bowl LIII is to find out which team has more former Browns on it and root for it. This strategy did not go so well for wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and center Mitchell Schwartz two years ago, as both were on the Falcons, but they were ahead for most of the game, so it almost worked. Here are the former Browns now playing in the NFL Championship Game:
Defensive Tackle Danny Shelton
The amount of time spent on writing about him is equally proportional to his career in Cleveland, so, moving on…
Cornerback Jason McCourty
One of the few bright spots to last year’s “Imperfect Season” was McCourty’s pick six. He had three interceptions altogether. He also recorded 54 tackles last year, consistent with his total this year. McCourty did not start all sixteen games this season, but was a competent contributor, along side his twin brother, Devin, to the New England Patriots defense. The temptation for any veteran to pack it in at any point of last year must have been strong, but to see Jason continue to work hard on a terrible team makes him deserving of a shot at winning the Superbowl.
Wide Receiver Josh Gordon
Shocking no one, Gordon got himself suspended again. The Browns might not get a pick, but Gordon will “earn” a ring, if the Patriots win. How very Brownsian.
Quarterback Brian Hoyer
Many would argue that Hoyer did not get a fair shake trying to lead his beloved hometown team to respectability. The two years in Cleveland were tumultuous, having the long, swan-riding shadow of wash-out Johnny Manziel looming over every start. Hoyer has been on the Patriots before, but has not won a Super Bowl with them.
While there are no former players on the Los Angeles Rams, there is one honorable mention:
Guard Rodger Saffold
Bedford, Ohio native Saffold has been a solid All-Pro for the St. Louis/ Los Angeles Rams for the last ten years. From Steven Jackson to C.J. Anderson, he has been a part of some potent ground-based attacks. An unabashed Browns fan, a piece of his boyhood team will be with him in Atlanta. Whether he could be a part of Cleveland’s ground game next year will be the subject of next week’s post. (That’s called a ‘tease’ in the business.)
Seeing as though the majority of former Browns, deservedly or not, are on the Patriots and poised to win this Sunday, Browns fans are under no obligation to root for them. Maybe the same fate that happened to Gabriel and Schwartz will befall these players. The only thing football fans can hope for with the final game of the season is that it be good.