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Adam Burke

It has been a great seven years at We have established ourselves as one of the premier Cleveland sports websites on the internet and have put together one of the most gifted and talented groups of writers, one that we believe rivals any other site out there. By “any other site out there”, we’re not just talking about the Cleveland-centric ones.

When Rich Swerbinsky launched on February 1, 2006, it began, as Rich said in 2008, with a “couple hundred buddies”. Now, TCF registers page views in the hundreds of thousands every month and the writer base has grown to include over 20 of Cleveland’s finest amateur scribes.

Since TheClevelandFan launched, all of us, to some degree, have endured the pain and suffering that leads some to undying loyalty and others to their breaking point. We have laughed, cried, jumped, screamed, applauded, berated, and gotten depressed over Cleveland sports. We have endured Browns games in blizzards. We have endured heartbreak in the playoffs for the Indians and Cavs. We have seen a King grow before our eyes and then leave, taking his talents, ego, and championship potential with him. We have gone through ownership changes, the hiring and firing of coaches, ill-fated trades and let our fandom generate blind hope, optimism, and invariable disappointment.

That’s just in the span of seven years. Through all of it, the writers of have been there. The writers of are going to continue to be there.

One of the best things to happen to us at TheClevelandFan was the partnership we developed with SportsTime Ohio in March of 2007. They gave us unparalleled visibility as a website dedicated to Cleveland sports. Our content has run on and right on the front page, directing anybody who clicked on a link back to TheClevelandFan since the partnership began.

With the sale of STO to Fox Sports, the STO brand will be fully integrated into the Fox Sports family and that includes the website. As a result, our partnership with STO will no longer exist, but that does not mean that TheClevelandFan is going anywhere. We will continue to provide the content and the opinions you have come to expect from us and we hope that you will visit us directly at

Many thanks are owed to Kelly Myers and Mike Roche. They have been an integral part of our relationship with STO and are two very fine people. On behalf of everybody at TheClevelandFan, we wish them the best in their future endeavors.

This latest chapter in the life of TheClevelandFan has been exciting and tremendously helpful in getting our name out there, but it is far from the last. We are committed to continuing to be the voice of the fans of Cleveland. We want you to agree with us. We want you to disagree with us. We want to generate discussion among friends at the bar, co-workers in the office, and on our website message boards. We want to educate and inform. We want to spark debate. Most importantly, we want to be alive long enough to write about a Cleveland championship.

In closing, speaking on behalf of the writers of TheClevelandFan, we’d like to thank every single reader out there for taking the time to read what we have to say and give our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the people who visit TheClevelandFan on a daily basis. In today’s dot com world, there is no shortage of websites at your disposal, but to choose to read us on a daily basis means a lot to the writers who take the time to put their love of Cleveland sports into words.

Please continue to frequent TheClevelandFan and we’ll continue to provide the best Browns, Indians, Cavs, and Buckeyes coverage on the web.

Adam Burke

00BobrovskyIn the condensed NHL schedule, every point is critical, especially considering that every game is played against a conference foe. The Columbus Blue Jackets started to get healthy last week and now have put together an eight-game point streak. The team had a shot to tie the franchise record with six straight wins on Tuesday night, but fell in a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks. After securing 12 of 14 possible points this month, the Blue Jackets are now three points out of a playoff spot.

The one thing that observers of the Blue Jackets have taken notice of, pretty much since the first week of the season, is that the Jackets work hard night in and night out. They’re finally starting to see that hard work pay off in the win column. Seven of the last eight games for the Blue Jackets have gone to overtime, so they have played a lot of hockey and have battled through a lot of adversity during this stretch.


Greg Popelka

mudcat grantThis is one installment in a team effort by The Cleveland Fan, highlighting the top local sports figures by jersey number. Please weigh in with your thoughts, in the Boards. As David Letterman would say, “For entertainment purposes only; please, no wagering.”

The early crowd at the stadium could only assume they didn’t get the joke. On that mid-June day in Cleveland, Indians starting pitcher Jim Grant strolled across the baseball diamond – in Minnesota Twins gear. Fans yelled at the pitcher, asking him why he was dressed in the uniform of that day’s opponent. Grant could only shrug and reply that he’d been traded.


Dan Wismar

This is one installment in a team effort by The Cleveland Fan, highlighting the top local sports figures by jersey number. Please weigh in with your thoughts, in the Boards. As David Letterman would say, “For entertainment purposes only; please, no wagering.”

JimBrown11When this “By the Numbers” series for Cleveland athletes was conceived, there were several uniform numbers for which the selections were almost a foregone conclusion. There was also a handful of absolute no-brainers...and then there was Number 32.

The number worn by James Nathaniel Brown for the Cleveland Browns is as iconic in the NFL as Ruth’s #3 is in baseball. This is not a phenomenon limited to Cleveland, as evidenced by articles such as this, in which Brown’s name is preceded by the words “the immortal”, or by any number of similar rankings.

Before Dwight Howard, Cam Newton or Shaquille O’Neal were born, Jim Brown had the nickname “Superman”. When he left football, still in his prime at 29, he owned the NFL single season rushing record, and career NFL records for rushing yards, total yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns, among other marks...and he did it all in nine seasons of 12 or 14 games.

To this day, no other running back in NFL history has averaged over 100 yards (104.3) per game. Of the nine players to surpass his career touchdown record of 126 since he retired, none averaged more than one touchdown per game, as Brown did. He won the NFL rushing title in eight of his nine years in the league.


Jesse Lamovsky

This is one installment in a team effort by The Cleveland Fan, highlighting the top local sports figures by jersey number. Please weigh in with your thoughts, in the Boards. As David Letterman would say, “For entertainment purposes only; please, no wagering.”

“Why Jesse, is that a picture of William Green leading your piece on the most memorable Cleveland athlete to wear the number 31?” “Why yes, yes it is.”

Why, in a list that includes the likes of Bob Feller, Bill Willis and LeBron James, is William Green even being mentioned? After all, he’s one of the bigger busts in the history of the Browns franchise. Other than a brief stretch at the back end of his rookie season he did nothing to merit his high selection in the draft. He was an underachiever on the field and the proverbial hot mess off of it.

All of which, in part, actually answers the question. To be precise, there are three reasons why I’m writing about William Green as opposed to the obvious choice- Frank Minnifield.

1.)  I’m of the belief that you can’t talk about Minnifield without talking about Hanford Dixon, and vice-versa. The two are forever linked in the sports history of this city. And since I didn’t write about Hanford Dixon at #29, I won’t write about Frank Minnifield at #31. It’s got to be both or neither. Having one without the other would be like mentioning Bo but not Luke on a list of the Top 99 TV Rednecks. 

2.)  William Green is worth mentioning here because his career is so symbolic of the problems the Browns have experienced since returning to the NFL in 1999. A team lives and dies on the fortunes of its top draft picks. If they succeed, so does the team; if they fail… well, you know from watching the Browns over the last several years.

3.)  With Minnifield out, it was down to Green or Jawad Williams. Would you rather read about William Green, or Jawad Williams? To ask the question is to answer it.  

Cleveland’s failed first-round picks since 1999- specifically Couch, Brown, Warren, Green, Winslow and Edwards- have a few things in common:


Drafted in front of a better player- Check: To be technical, William Green went before many superior pros in the 2002 Draft. For starters: despite being the first running back selected, Green’s 2,109 career rushing yards are eighth in his class, behind a group that includes Brian Westbrook, Clinton Portis and the immortal Ladell Betts.

But you already know where I’m going with this. Six picks after the Browns took Green, Baltimore took Edward Reed with the 22nd overall selection. Butch Davis had recruited and coached Reed at Miami. So Reed, whose talent and leadership had been instrumental in the Hurricanes’ BCS-title drive in 2001, seemed to be an obvious fit in Cleveland.

Having taken Gerard Warren over LaDainian Tomlinson the previous year, however, Butch now wanted a running back with his top pick. To be fair, he needed one. Cleveland had gone 31st, 30th and 31st in rushing yards since the Return, and not all of that was on the offensive line: the leading rushers in those years were Terry Kirby, Travis Prentice and James Jackson. 

Edward Reed turned into a future Hall of Famer, possibly the best safety ever- and a Cleveland killer, with more interceptions and touchdowns against the Browns than against any other team. Green averaged 2.8 yards per carry and didn’t score a touchdown in six games against the Ravens. Passing on Edward Reed for William Green is the single biggest draft-day blunder the Browns have made since the Return, and that is saying a mouthful.

Flashed brilliance- Check: Pretty much every post-1999 first-round bust enjoyed brief moments where they showed the form that had made them so highly touted to begin with. Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow- all played like first-round talent at one point or another. Whether due to injuries, physical shortcomings or a lack of focus or passion, none found the consistency that enables greatness.

William Green flashed late in his rookie season- flashed so brightly, in fact, that it showed the way to the franchise’s only playoff appearance since the Return. What made it more memorable was how unexpected it was. Green was horrible for more than half that season, averaging 2.3 yards per carry and scoring one touchdown in his first nine games. He really looked as if he didn’t belong on an NFL field.

Then, out of nowhere, he busted loose- starting in Week 10 at Cincinnati, when he ran for 96 yards on 25 carries and memorably trucked Bengal safety Kevin Kaesviharn. In the last seven games of the ’02 season Green ran for 726 yards at 4.2 per carry and scored five touchdowns. His final-week performance against Atlanta was one for the ages With the Browns needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Green ran for 178 yards on 27 carries and scored two touchdowns, including the 64-yard explosion that put the Browns ahead 24-16 with 3:53 remaining.

The Browns went 5-2 in those seven games. It wasn’t a coincidence. They made the playoffs on William Green’s back. He got them there more than anyone else. (A weak year for the AFC didn’t hurt either, of course.)

Off-the-field drama- Check: From Gerard Warren’s rookie-year felony arrest (in Pittsburgh, of all places) to Kellen Winslow’s motorcycle escapades, to Braylon’s dust-up with an undersized friend of LeBron James, to Joe Haden’s adventures in Adderall, too many would-be Browns stars have made bigger headlines off the field than on it.

William Green was a troubled individual long before he got to Cleveland. Both of his parents died of AIDS within a year of each other when he was a teenager. He was suspended twice for marijuana use while at Boston College.

His demons followed him to Cleveland. On October 28th, 2003, Green was pulled over and arrested in Westlake for DUI and marijuana possession. Two weeks later the NFL handed Green a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Matters didn’t improve from there. A week after being suspended, Green’s fiancée was arrested for allegedly stabbing him in the back with a kitchen knife. There were rumors at the time that Green was involved with Kevin Johnson’s wife, and that his bedraggled appearance at the time of his arrest (he was wearing one shoe and one sock) were the result of KJ catching him in a compromising position with the receiver’s wife. They may also account for Green’s fiancée attempting to carve him up like a rotisserie chicken. (As if the rabbit hole didn’t go deep enough, KJ himself was abruptly released later in the season.)

Green didn’t play again in 2003. By the time he came back the following season he was yesterday’s news. The new fan idol was Lee Suggs, the brittle ball carrier that had hung 186 yards on the Bengals in the ’03 finale. Green never regained the momentum he lost when his personal issues overtook his career. He was only 25 years old when he played his last NFL game.

It’s a sad story, really. 

Burned out early- Check: See above. Green’s 46 games played is the fourth-fewest among 2002 first-rounders, behind only Wendell Bryant (29), Patrick Ramsey (38) and Mike Rumph (43.) Like Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow, William Green didn’t see his 30th birthday as an NFL player. And none of those players spent more than five seasons in a Browns uniform.

Of the five players the Browns selected in the first round from 1999 through 2003, none were still with the team when it opened the 2006 season. Couch, Brown and Green were out of football; Warren was in Denver and Jeff Faine was in New Orleans. That right there is why a team loses more than two-thirds of its games since coming back to the league.

William Green’s story is worth re-telling not because of the man but because of what he represents. The agony of the Browns- the decline from greatness, the Move and the wretched expansion reincarnation- is one of the overriding themes of the Cleveland sports experience. William Green symbolizes that agony about as well as anyone.

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