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Super Bowl 2017: Browns connections in the Super Bowl, and Cleveland's roster makeup

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Super Bowl Opening Night at Minute Maid Park
Alex Mack #51 of the Atlanta Falcons speaks with the media during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Every year, the Cleveland Browns typically have at least one former player represented in the Super Bowl. Outlined below are players, coaches, or front office personnel who were formerly members of the Browns on either the New England Patriots or the Atlanta Falcons. The parenthesis represent the time span they were with Cleveland.

At the end of the post, we will post a quick year-by-year look at the Browns' roster make up following the end of the season.

Former Browns on the New England Patriots

  • RB Dion Lewis (2013-2014) - In 2013, former Browns CEO Joe Banner acquired Lewis in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. In camp and the early parts of the preseason, Lewis looked electric. Then, he broke his leg, and the following year was not given a real chance to make the roster amid another regime change. Lewis caught on with the Patriots. Injuries have limited the number of games he’s had with New England too, but when he does play, the Patriots haven’t lost and he looks as electric as ever.
  • DL Jabaal Sheard (2011-2014) - A second-round pick by the Browns in 2011, Sheard had 23 sacks in four seasons with the club and was mixed between being a defensive end or an outside linebacker by various coaching staffs. He has remained a solid contributor for New England, logging 13 sacks in 2 years.
  • OLB Barkevious Mingo (2013-2016) - A first-round pick by the Browns in 2013, Mingo was a big disappointment, registering 7 sacks in 3 years. Various coaching staffs tried changing his role when they saw he was not an effective pass-rusher, and he did show some promise as a run stopper. One-too-many staff changes led to him being traded at the end of training camp this year, where he is now just a special teamer.
  • Football Research Director Ernie Adams (1991-1995) - Adams worked as an offensive assistant with the Browns during Bill Belichick’s time in Cleveland. That was his last time in a coaching gig; he’s been on the administrative staff with New England since 2000.
  • Tight Ends Coach Brian Daboll (2009-2010) - Formerly the Browns’ offensive coordinator, Daboll has been the Patriots’ tight ends coach since 2014, although his relationship with Belichick goes back to 2000.
  • Assistant Special Teams Coach Ray Ventrone (2009-2012) - Ventrone was a backup safety and special teams ace with the Browns for four years. Since 2015, he’s served as the Patriots’ assistant special teams coach.

Former Browns on the Atlanta Falcons

  • WR Taylor Gabriel (2014-2016) - Gabriel beat the odds as an undrafted rookie in 2014, coming in as a short 5-8 receiver and winning a roster spot. He was second on the team in receiving with over 600 receiving yards. In 2015, though, he was off of his game. Dropped passes and fumbles riddled him on a weekly basis. He came back with a pretty solid camp in 2016, but with the Browns having drafted four wide receivers, everyone knew Gabriel was just auditioning for another team. The Falcons were the benefactors, and with Mohamed Sanu not delivering as anticipated, Gabriel rose to the occasion as (in my opinion) the team’s next biggest receiving threat after Julio Jones.
  • C Alex Mack (2009-2015) - The Browns drafted Mack with their first-round pick in 2009, and he had an awesome seven years with the club. Unfortunately, there probably isn’t much the Browns could have done to retain Mack when it came to the negotiating room because I feel Mack was ready to play for a winner, and he didn’t feel Cleveland was close to winning yet. It ended up being a great decision on his part, as he is viewed as one of the big difference makers in Atlanta getting over the hump and to the Super Bowl this year.
  • Assistant General Manager Scott Pioli (1992-1995) - Pioli’s executive career began with the Browns as a pro personnel assistant under Bill Belichick. However, he’s on the opposite sideline of Belichick now with the Patriots, serving as the assistant general manage to Thomas Dimitroff since 2014.
  • Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan (2014) - We know about Shanahan and his offensive brilliance, but also about how he failed to fix the offense after Alex Mack broke his leg in 2014. He petitioned to get out of Cleveland in 2015, became the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, and is about to become the 49ers’ next head coach.
  • Offensive Assistant Mike McDaniel (2014) - He was the Browns’ wide receivers coach under Shanahan for one year.
  • Offensive Assistant Mike LaFleur (2014) - He was a coaching intern with the Browns in 2014.
  • Defensive Passing Game Coordinator Jerome Henderson (2009-2011) - Henderson was the Browns’ defensive backs coach for three years. He’s now had success in Dallas and Atlanta is on the fringe of being a head coaching candidate somewhere down the line.
  • Defensive Line Coach Bryan Cox (2009-2010) - Cox had the same role with the Browns for two years.

Browns' Year-by-Year Roster Breakdown

Source: Cleveland Browns