You cannot go through any body of knowledge in sports without encountering the social changes within our country. So it is with Number 74 on the NFL Network’s “Top 100,” Marion Motley.
Motley was one of four African-Americans who got in the pro ranks in 1946, one year prior to Jackie Robinson doing the same thing in baseball.
Due to his older era, Motley has no fan rank. He played at South Carolina State in Nevada but was not drafted. He was a fullback who also played linebacker. Often, players in those days went both ways.
Marion Motley started in the newly formed All-America Football Conference for four years before going with the Cleveland Browns, having known Paul Brown.
Motley was a vicious pass blocker and amazing runner who kept defenses honest. He blocked for the legendary Otto Graham. He gained 4,720 yards on only 828 carries for a whopping lifetime yards-per-carry average of 5.7 yards — the highest in the NFL. His career spanned seasons in which he played in 106 games and, further, was the AAFL’s all-time leading rusher. Motley played on several Browns championship teams.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1968.
Number 73 in our “Top 100” countdown of all-time great players is the “Wizard of Oz,” Ozzie Newsome. This Hall of Famer (Class of 1999) was drafted 23rd in the first round by the Cleveland Browns as a tight end out of Alabama. It was surprising because Alabama was a running, not a passing, team.
Newsome was the leading tight end of his day and was the leading tight end when he left the game after 13 seasons and 198 games.
He played in three championship games against the Denver Broncos, and was a highly respected team captain.
Some of Newsome’s records include catching a pass in 150 straight games, 682 receptions in his career for 7,980 yards and 47 touchdowns.
He retired in 1990, and his legacy was as much for leadership as stats. Starting right away, in his rookie year in fact, Ozzie Newsome was made a fixture at tight end and leader of the team.
Newsome was ranked 88th by the fans. These two Browns players reflect the consistency of quality in the NFL over several decades.
Hall of Fame Website, “Marion Motley”
NFL Network Website, “Marion Motley”
You Tube Website, “NFL Films Top 100 Greatest Players #74 Marion Motley-HD, HQ
Hall if Fame Website, “Ozzie Newsome”
NFL Network Website, “Ozzie Newsome”
You Tube Website, “NFL Films Top 100 Greatest Players #73 Ozzie Newsome-HD, HQ