Editor’s note: The NFL Draft is over. No one is completely sure when training camp and the regular season will begin for the NFL. So we may be entering an NFL quiet period that is more quiet than usual.
To help fill in that space, we are starting a series to determine the best player to wear each jersey number in Cleveland Browns history. Today we present the best player to wear uniform No. 5.
The uniform No. 5 has not been very kind to any player unlucky enough to sport it while playing for the Cleveland Browns.
Easily the most accomplished player to wear that number was quarterback Jeff Garcia, who signed with the Browns as a free agent prior to the 2004 season. Garcia had made three Pro Bowls in five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and appeared poised to at least settle Cleveland’s quarterback issues for a few seasons.
With the Browns, Garcia’s biggest highlight may have come in Week 1 as he led the Browns to a victory over the Baltimore Ravens, which is still the only season-opening victory the Browns have pulled off since returning in 1999.
It was essentially downhill from there and Garcia would ultimately injure his shoulder during a November loss to the New York Jets. He would only throw one more pass as a member of the Browns.
While Garcia earned three Pro Bowl selections with the San Francisco 49ers prior to joining the Browns, and another Pro Bowl nod with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2007, his time in Cleveland hardly qualifies for a best ever list.
The same can be said for quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who the Browns acquired via a trade with the Buffalo Bills prior to the 2018 season.
Taylor opened that season as the starter, led the Browns to a tie in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers and a close loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 2, before an injury sent him to the sidelines against the New York Jets in Week 3. That opened the door for quarterback Baker Mayfield to take over.
Taylor would only throw one more pass the rest of the season and move on to the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency. The lasting memory of Taylor in a Cleveland uniform came during training camp when the cameras of HBO’s Hard Knocks caught him explaining to head coach Hue Jackson why filming practice is important.
Much like Garcia, it is hard to make a case for Taylor.
What about placekicker Zane Gonzalez, who played for the Browns in 2017 and the first two games of 2018?
Gonzalez struggled during his time with the Browns, converting just 68 percent of his field goals (although an undisclosed groin injury did not help his cause in 2018). Gonzalez found his form last season with the Arizona Cardinals, where he made 88 percent of his field goals and only missed one extra point.
But, again, like Garcia and Taylor, Gonzalez’s best work came in another team’s uniform.
We are starting to run out of viable options here, Browns fans.
Punter Spencer Lanning is the only player to make it through two full seasons with the Browns while wearing No. 5, but he only appeared in one game after being released by the Browns following the 2014 season. Plus, he is most famous for being on the receiving end of a kick by Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown during a punt return in 2014, which is not the way you want to be remembered.
Quarterback Ken Dorsey? Zero touchdowns and seven interceptions in 92 career pass attempts with the Browns would argue against his candidacy.
Punter Scott Player? He only appeared in three games for the Browns in 2007 and while it is nice that he was the last NFL player to wear a single-bar facemask, that alone is not enough.
So where does that leave us in our quest? For this one, we’re turning it over to you, the fan, to make the call!
Vote in the poll below and help us determine who will be immortalized as the best player to wear uniform No. 5 in franchise history.
Who was the best player to wear No. 5 in Browns history?
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