By: Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
MOBILE, Ala. – Sometimes, the chance to step away from something you’ve done for a long time gives you a chance to get a fresher perspective.
New Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress had such an experience after being fired as coach of the Minnesota Vikings following the 2010 season and spending the 2011 campaign out of football. It marked the first time he had been in that position in 33 years, which was among the first thoughts that crossed my mind as I learned of his hiring Friday while here for the Senior Bowl.
Childress spent part of his first summer away from the game dabbling in media as an analyst for SiriusXM NFL Radio. In that capacity, he visited the Browns’ training camp as part of the satellite station’s training-camp tour and joined me as a guest on Cleveland Browns Daily.
During our conversation, he mentioned that while visiting the Browns he had discussed the chance to be an observer, rather than a participant, at a camp with team president Mike Holmgren. At the time, Childress saw being “able to see how somebody else does it for the first time in 33 years” as highly valuable even at this stage of his career.
Some of Childress’ visit was reviewing videotape with Browns coach Pat Shurmur, with whom he had worked on the Philadelphia Eagles’ coaching staff. Childress was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator and Shurmur was their quarterbacks coach. Although they shared the same vision for the West Coast offense (an obvious factor in the Browns’ decision to hire Childress), Childress approached the session with the expectation that he would learn something new.
“You only know what you know in your little box,” he told me. “… As we go down the road (with the tour) … I’m taking notes.”
Childress had said then he was “open and amenable” to any and all coaching opportunities that might come his way.
“I’m just happy and grateful that I’m having the opportunity to go around and see some different people do it,” he said.
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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.
Through the years, Jan. 27 has been one of the busiest days in Browns history.
And the things that have happened on this date have had a lot to say about the direction of the franchise at those particular times.
It was in the 1970 NFL Draft that the team selected Purdue quarterback Mike Phipps and Texas offensive lineman tackle Bob McKay (first round), and Tennessee State defensive end Joe Jones and Oklahoma State defensive tackle Jerry Sherk (second round).
The Browns traded Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Paul Warfield to the Miami Dolphins to get the chance to take Phipps at No. 3 overall. He had some bright spots but also struggled during his seven seasons (1970-76) in Cleveland.
McKay was the full- or part-time starter at right tackle from 1971-74, then, in his final year of 1975, he shared right guard with rookie Robert E. Jackson.
Jones played seven seasons in two stints with the Browns, from 1970-71 and ’73, and then again from 1975-78. He is best known for his famous head-first “spike” tackle of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw in a 1976 game at Cleveland.
Sherk, a Cleveland Browns Legend, played for the team from 1970-81 and made four Pro Bowls. He no doubt would have played longer, had more Pro Bowl trips and maybe even received strong consideration for the Hall of Fame had he not sustained a staph infection on his knee in 1979 at Philadelphia, when he was having his best season statistically. It almost claimed his life, and he never really regained his skills.
In addition, on this date in 1989, Bud Carson was hired as coach of the Browns.
They gave the 57-year-old Carson, a defensive genius who had spent time with the New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams and Steelers, his first head coaching job in the NFL because they thought he could figure out a way to defeat quarterback John Elway and the Denver Broncos and get Cleveland to its first Super Bowl. The Broncos had edged the Browns in the AFC Championship Game following both the 1986 and ’87 seasons.
Carson, who abandoned the team’s 3-4 defensive scheme and replaced it with a 4-3, got the Browns back to the AFC title game – against Denver — in that first season of 1989, but once again, the Broncos prevailed, this time by 37-21.
The Browns ran out of gas with that group of players. Trying again in 1990, they started 2-7, causing Carson to be fired and replaced on an interim basis by offensive coordinator Jim Shofner, a former Cleveland cornerback. Carson’s overall record was 11-13-1.
The Browns went on to finish a then franchise-worst 3-13 in 1990, and Bill Belichick was hired as the full-time coach in the offseason.
Also on this date, Jan. 27:
*In 1980, center Tom DeLeone and fullback Mike Pruitt, both of whom are Cleveland Browns Legends, represented the club in the Pro Bowl, in which their AFC team lost to the NFC, 37-27, as the game began a 30-year run of being held at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
*In 1968, two future key Browns were born in defensive end Anthony Pleasant (in Century, Fla.) and kicker Matt Stover (Dallas).
Pleasant, a third-round pick of the Browns in the 1990 NFL Draft out of Tennessee State, was the starter at right end for each of the six seasons (1990-95) he spent in Cleveland before the original franchise left and went to Baltimore. He was drafted the same season as Rob Burnett (fifth round), who would play opposite him at left end, giving the Browns solid bookends along their defensive line throughout that era.
A fine pass rusher, Pleasant recorded 33.5 sacks while with the Browns, including 11 in 1993 and eight in ’95.
Stover, from Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, also the alma mater of longtime Browns kicker Phil Dawson, and Louisiana Tech, was a 12th-round draft choice of the New York Giants in 1990 but never played for them. He came to the Browns in 1991 as a Plan B free agent and played with the club through ’95, continuing the team’s lineage of great kickers. In his third game as a Brown, in 1991 at Cleveland, he hit a field goal as time expired to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals.
Overall with the Browns, Stover connected on 80.6 percent (108-of-134) of his field-goal tries, including going 26-of-28 in 1994 for an NFL-best 92.9 percent.
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