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 Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers. 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 Kansas City Chiefs
- OG Cameron Erving (2015-2016) - The Browns drafted Erving as the 19th overall pick of the draft in 2015, a move that raised some eyebrows because he was billed as a center, and the team still had Alex Mack. Would Cleveland really draft a first round pick in anticipation of a player leaving a year later? Erving didn’t look good in limited play as a rookie, and in 2016, he didn’t change anyone’s mind in his 13 starts. Although he is not a starter for Kansas City presently, he has seen plenty of spot duty with them over the past three years, where he has started a total of 25 games.
- OL Austin Reiter (2016-2017) - When Erving went down in 2016 for the Browns, Reiter has a chance to shine at center, and he showed some nice upside in his first game. Unfortunately, he also tore his ACL, ending his season and leaving him only with reserve duty in 2017. He is now the Cheifs’ starting center, having started all 18 games for them this season (including the postseason).
- OT Mitchell Schwartz (2012-2015) - It is laughable when you think back to how some fans weren’t happy enough with Schwartz’ play in Cleveland. The Browns toyed around with him in free agency in 2016, so Cleveland’s loss was Kansas City’s gain. Schwartz is now one of the league’s best right tackles, and he is durable: he hasn’t missed a single start in his career.
- DE Emmanuel Ogbah (2016-2018) - The Browns dumped Ogbah to the Chiefs this offseason in exchange for safety Eric Murray. Ogbah had a career-high 5.5 sacks with the Chiefs before suffering a torn pectoral in Week 10. Sadly, he won’t get to play in the Super Bowl, but he still has a chance to earn a ring.
- Former Browns RB Elijah McGuire (2019) and DL Devaroe Lawrence (2018-2019) are on the Chiefs’ practice squad.
Former Browns on the San Francisco 49ers
- RB Raheem Mostert (2015) - Mostert signed with the Browns at the tail end of the 2015 season, playing 3 games as a kickoff returner. He showed off a lot of intriguing speed, but had never been used by an NFL team to carry the ball during a regular season game. Flashforward to this season, and Kyle Shanahan has gotten 5.6 YPC out of him during the regular season, and a 29-carry, 220-yard, 4-touchdown performance in the NFC Championship game to turn him into a household name.
- OT Shon Coleman (2016-2017) - Apparently, when the Browns dump off their former right tackles, they land with with Super Bowl contenders. Unlike Schwartz, Coleman isn’t a starter with San Francisco, and he suffered a season-ending injury this preseason.
- DE Anthony Zettel (2018) - A reserve defensive lineman in 2018, he didn’t survive final roster cuts in 2019. The 49ers signed him for depth heading into their final game of the regular season, and he logged a tackle and has played in both postseason games.
- CB K’Waun Williams (2014-2015) - An undrafted free agent, Williams was a great nickel corner for the Browns, but is an example of one of those players who falls out of favor for whatever reason when there is a coaching turnover. Williams has been an outstanding contributor to the 49ers’ pass defense, and when you look at the replies from fans in a tweet from Pro Football Focus asking who the most underrated player in the Super Bowl is, Williams’ name is popping up everywhere.
- Head Coach Kyle Shanahan (2014) - Think back to how good Shanahan made the Browns’ offense with very little to work with. His scheme just works, flat out. He helped take the Falcons to a Super Bowl (although...that ultimately ended in disappointment). Now, he is leading the best team in football and is one game away from capturing his first Super Bowl. That PowerPoint presentation to get the heck out of Cleveland was the best decision he ever made.
- Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends Coach Jon Embree (2013) - Embree’s time with Shanahan in Cleveland did not overlap, but the two are on the same staff in San Francisco.
- Offensive Quality Control Coach Miles Austin (2014) - Known for his reliable hands, Austin had a fair season in 2014 when he played for Shanahan’s offense. This year, he was brought over as a quality control coach for him.
- Run Game Specialist/Outside Linebacker Coach Johnny Holland (2016) - After one season with the Browns, Holland joined the 49ers’ defensive coaching staff.
- Honorable Mention: Joe Woods, who is the 49ers’ Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach, is on track to be the Browns’ new defensive coordinator in 2020.
Browns’ Year-by-Year Roster Breakdown
You can see the Browns’ roster composition in this PDF file. The longest tenured players on the Browns are OG Joel Bitonio, LB Christian Kirksey, and LS Charley Hughlett, all from the 2014 season.