I have to say, the more I think about the possibilty of having Haden, Ward and Claiborne as our security blanket against the pass, makes me very excited. It reminds me of a time, when it was the dawn of "The Dawgs" right before Hanford Dixon forever changed the name of our defense and the uncomfortable drafty part of old Cleveland Stadium.
In the 1984 draft the Browns selected Donald Lavert Rodgers with the 18th pick overall.Rodgers was a Safety out of UCLA that had just won the Rose bowl MVP award for two interceptions in the game, while tying the Rose Bowl record. Lightning fast, but more importantly, hit like a freight train. Dan Fouts once said "it was like I hit a brick wall". Why does this matter to us now? Because for decades the Browns have tried to find a replacement for what many have considered one of the best safeties to play the game. He was referred to as "The Prototype" by the front office.
After Rodgers won Defensive rookie of the year honors his life was cut short on the night before his wedding, due to cocaine use. Just days after losing Len bias for the same thing, the sports world took a hard look at it's players and drug abuse. It would take years before the Browns felt comfortable enough to say they found someone close to the prototype they were looking for in Eric Turner, however no one matched the deadly hitting power of Rodgers. In those days the thought of Rodgers making his way into the backfield terrified quarterbacks.
Sometimes I wonder, would we in Cleveland be talking about history and championships if we would have had a chance to see Dixon, Minniefield and Rodgers face Elway? For many years the Browns front office felt that way. Well history is history and we will never know, but you have to admit the idea of Claiborne, Ward and Haden sounds damn exciting at this point. And for those of you who think that a solid hard hitting D can't win superbowls, go ask the Ravens. Here's to the future! RIP Don Rodgers, Go Browns!!