Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com opened the week with an in-depth look at the background of current Cleveland Browns Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry. Berry is somewhat of a mystery; he’s young, being hired by the Browns at just age 29 last January, promoted from his previous position as Pro Scouting Coordinator. He’s a Harvard graduate who was hand-picked by then-Indianapolis Colts Director of Player Personnel Tom Telesco to work in football operation. But the little details were always a bit fuzzy about who Berry is and why he’s handling such an important role in Cleveland.
Labbe’s piece provides insight into Berry’s family life, including his background in football, which began as a seventh-grader in Bel Air, Maryland. Berry would eventually go on to be Bel Air High School’s starting quarterback and though, Berry “probably weighed 135 pounds soaking wet in 10th grade,” he possessed a trait that any quarterback should have: Leadership. According to Bel Air head coach Bruce Riley, “[Berry] led through example, he led with his words, he led with his character. And he did it all with humility.”
Berry went on to graduate as a valedictorian and headed to Harvard, where he switched positions to cornerback. His head coach in college, Tim Murphy, said that Berry “was arguably the best defensive back every to play for Harvard.” A herniated disc, though, ended his on-field career. And his behind-the-scenes career in the NFL may have never gotten started without the help of Telesco, who read an article about Berry in Harvard’s gameday program while at the school’s pro day, piquing his interest. In 2009, Berry was just weeks away from beginning a career on Wall Street when Telesco called with a job offer.
The piece paints a picture of a man passionate about football who didn’t recognize just how far that passion—and a bit of good timing—could take him. That passion (and his intelligence) has now led him to Cleveland, where he’s part of a front-office brain trust that values his Ivy League background rather than shuns or tries to avoid it, like many others.
Labbe’s feature is a must-read for anyone who wants to know who is making the personnel decisions for the Browns and just why they were hired to do so.