Paul Warfield, who was a member of the last Cleveland Browns team to win an NFL Championship, was recently selected as one of the 10 wide receivers on the NFL’s All-Time team.
A first-round draft pick by the Browns in the 1964 NFL Draft, played eight seasons in Cleveland, finishing his Browns career with 271 receptions (14th best in franchise history), 5,210 receiving yards (sixth best in franchise history), 52 touchdown receptions (third best) and averaged 19.2 yards per reception.
Following the 1969 season, Warfield was traded to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the draft choice the Browns would use to select quarterback Mike Phipps. Warfield would play five seasons with the Miami Dolphins, winning two Super Bowls, and at the time of his retirement, according to the announcement at NFL.com:
- was the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 85
- was fifth in receiving yards with 8,565,
- was one of five wide receivers in league history to average 20-plus yards per reception for players with a minimum of 75 career games and 200 receptions.
After spending one season with the Memphis Grizzlies of the World Football League, Warfield returned to the Browns for the final two seasons of his career.
He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. According to his bio on the hall’s website:
Even though he played on ball-control teams through most of his career, he managed to haul in 427 passes for 8,565 yards and 85 touchdowns. His 20.1 yards-per-catch mark ranks among the best in the history of the game. And he did it with a trademark smooth, graceful style that left observers and victimized defenders awestruck.
As a rookie, Warfield caught a career-high 52 passes. His outside speed was the perfect compliment to the power running of Jim Brown. During his first six years with the Browns, the team played in five conference championships, as well as the 1964 championship game. Because of his blazing speed, elusive moves, and great leaping ability, defenses often found it necessary to double cover him.
Warfield, a six-time All-NFL choice who was elected to eight Pro Bowls, was a long ball threat who intimidated the opposition. His mere presence on the field proved to be almost as beneficial to the running game. The best example of this may have been in 1972 when the Dolphins went undefeated. That year Miami ran the ball 613 times while passing on just 259 occasions. The Dolphins’ philosophy was to use the forward pass as a threat to make the ground game more effective. The Dolphins rushed for a then-NFL record 2,960 yards.
Warfield is the third Browns player named to the All-Time list, joining running backs Jim Brown and Marion Motley. Former head coaches Paul Brown and Bill Belichick are also two of the coaches selected to the team.