By: Steve King, Contributor to ClevelandBrowns.com
The first player ever taken by the Browns in the NFL Draft?
It was Ken Carpenter, a running back from Oregon State who was selected in the first round in 1950, the year the Browns entered the NFL from the All-America Football Conference.
Born Feb. 26, 1926 in Seaside, Ore., Carpenter played four years (1950-53) in Cleveland, sharing the starting job in all but the 1952 season.
He rushed for 1,186 yards with the Browns, averaging five yards per carry and scoring 11 touchdowns. He also caught 42 passes for five scores.
His best season was 1952 when, in just eight games, he rushed for 408 yards and three touchdowns and had 16 receptions for a touchdown.
After he left the Browns, Carpenter did not play again until 1960, when he spent his final season with the Denver Broncos in the inaugural year of the AFL.
Also born on this date, Feb. 26, in 1971 in Monroe, La., was Rick Lyle. He is one of a small group of men who have played for, and then served as a coach with, the Browns.
Entering his fourth season as the assistant strength and conditioning coach, he also spent two seasons (1994-95) as a defensive lineman for coach Bill Belichick.
Unlike Carpenter, Lyle wasn’t drafted, coming to the Browns as a rookie free agent from Missouri. He beat the odds that first year and made the roster of a strong team, one that would go on to finish 11-5 and make the AFC playoffs as a wild card.
He ended up playing 10 years overall in the NFL, spending 1996 in Baltimore with the transplanted Cleveland franchise, 1997-2001 with the New York Jets and 2002-03 with the New England Patriots. The Pats won the Super Bowl in his second season with them.
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