By: Steve King, Contributor to ClevelandBrowns.com
Cleveland Clinic presents This Day in Browns History. If you call 1.800.274.2009, Cleveland Clinic will schedule an appointment for either the same day or the next day, including Saturdays. Call to learn more.
A good number of Browns’ picks in the 1951 NFL Draft made their marks in the league — but not all of them as players, and not all of them with Cleveland.
Kenny Konz, Art Donovan, Walt Michaels, Don Shula and Carl Taseff were selected by the Browns that year.
Konz, a first-round choice from Louisiana State, was a safety/punt returner for the team for seven seasons (1953-59) and is a Cleveland Browns Legend. He is fourth on the club with 30 career interceptions and is second with four interceptions returned for touchdowns.
He either led the team or shared the lead in interceptions in five different seasons, getting a career-high seven in 1956.
That was also the year that Konz topped the NFL in punt returns with an average of 14.4 yards.
For his career, Konz is eighth on the Browns in return average at 8.2 yards, and ninth with 556 return yards.
Donovan, a defensive tackle from Boston College tabbed with the last of three fourth-round picks, never played with the Browns but went on to have a Pro Football Hall of Fame career with the Baltimore Colts.
The latter of two seventh-rounders, Michaels, from Washington & Lee, played his first season with the Green Bay Packers, then returned to Cleveland in 1952 and became one of the best linebackers in the NFL over the next decade. He went to the Pro Bowl four times, tied for the most by a linebacker in Browns history, and is a Cleveland Browns Legend.
Michaels finished his 12-year career in 1963 with the New York Jets, who he would later coach.
Shula, a defensive back who played at Painesville (Ohio) Harvey High School and Cleveland’s John Carroll University, was the latter of the club’s two ninth-round choices. He had four interceptions in 1951 in the first of his two seasons with the Browns, then went to the Baltimore Colts for four years and the Washington Redskins for one and had 17 more interceptions for a career total of 21.
But it is Shula’s long tenure with the Colts and Miami Dolphins, setting an NFL record for career victories, that earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Also a defensive back, Taseff played at Cleveland East High School and then was a teammate of Shula’s at John Carroll. A 22nd-round selection in the 30-round draft, he played just that 1951 season with the Browns before spending three years with the Baltimore Colts and one with the Buffalo Bills.
Taseff, however, carved out a much bigger niche as a longtime assistant coach under Shula.
Also on this date, Jan. 19, in 1969, Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Paul Warfield made the second of his three Pro Bowl appearances as a member of the Browns and scored the East’s only touchdown on a pass reception in its 10-7 loss to the West at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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