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Browns players who sacked “Big Ben” over the years

Remembering those Cleveland legends who recorded a sack of Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger during his career.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Diamond Images/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns joined the rest of the NFL on Thursday in wishing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger “farewell” as the quarterback announced his retirement after playing 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was certainly not a fond farewell from the Browns, but something more along the lines of “he’s finally gone, thankfully,” after being on the wrong side of the scoreboard during Roethlisberger’s career. Cleveland was only able to manage two wins and a tie in 29 regular-season matchups against the Steelers with Roethlisberger as quarterback, although the Browns did come out ahead in their lone playoff meeting.

The Browns famously passed on selecting Roethlisberger in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft because they reportedly did not believe that a 6-foot-4 and 242-pound quarterback would survive behind the team’s weak offensive line. Apparently, head coach Butch Davis was under the impression that the NFL prohibited teams from improving their offensive line, just one of several examples of why he failed as an NFL head coach.

Not being selected by his “hometown team” allegedly angered Roethlisberger to the point that he made it his career mission to torment the Browns, or so the story goes. That narrative always felt manufactured, however, as Roethlisberger grew up in Findlay, which is 121 miles away from Cleveland, and played college football at Miami of Ohio, which is 256 miles away from Cleveland, so that is a pretty generous definition of “hometown.”

We are not here to praise Roethlisberger, there was enough of that going around these past few weeks, but to honor those members of the Cleveland Browns who sacked Roethlisberger over the past 18 years.

From linebacker Chaun Thompson, who recorded the first sack on November 14, 2004, to defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who got to Roethlisberger on January 3, 2022, here is a roll call of the Cleveland players who registered a sack of Roethlisberger (sack totals for those players with more than one listed in parentheses):

  • Myles Garrett (5)
  • Jabaal Sheard (4)
  • Corey Williams (3)
  • Antwan Peek (2)
  • Chaun Thompson (2)
  • Christian Kirksey (2)
  • Jadeveon Clowney (2)
  • Robaire Smith (2)
  • Ahtyba Rubin
  • Alvin McKinley
  • B.J. Goodson
  • Billy Winn
  • Brandon McDonald
  • Carl Nassib
  • Chris Crocker
  • D’Qwell Jackson
  • David Bowens
  • Desmond Bryant
  • Eric Wright
  • Genard Avery
  • Jason Trusnik
  • Kaluka Maiava
  • Kamerion Wimbley
  • Karlos Dansby
  • Larry Ogunjobi
  • Malik McDowell
  • Nick Eason
  • Nick Sorensen
  • Paul Kruger
  • Scott Paxson
  • Shaun Rogers
  • Shaun Smith
  • Sheldrick Redwine
  • Willie McGinest