The passionate Cleveland Browns fanbase often makes stars of players even if they are not stars on the field. Whether it is personality, what school they went to (The Ohio State Buckeyes is the best example) or from some unique stretch of games (hello Jerome Harrison), Browns fans latch on to players like no other.
While Cleveland fans are not unique in doing so, the power of these players is clear when you ask one of them to name their favorite, random training camp star.
WR KhaDarel Hodge was one of those players during 2021 training camp in Berea. With his guitar celebration (seen above) and out-of-nowhere story, fans were excited about the possibility of Hodge not only making the team but making an impact. As a vital special teams player in 2020, Hodge seemed destined to be a celebrated name in Cleveland.
Instead, the Browns waived Hodge at the end of training camp. He was then claimed by the Detroit Lions with John Dorsey, the man who brought Hodge to Cleveland, in their front office.
Hodge played in all 16 games for the Lions in 2021 collecting 13 receptions for 157 yards. His only points accounted for were on a two-point conversion. On special teams, Hodge had five tackles.
He moved on to the Atlanta Falcons in 2022 where got his first receiving touchdown and another two-point conversion. He once again had 13 receptions, despite very poor quarterback play, for 202 yards. He continued his important role on special teams with nine tackles, playing in 60% of the team’s snaps in that phase.
According to a report, Hodge visited the Houston Texans (where tons of former Browns end up) this offseason before re-signing with the Falcons today:
While Hodge hasn’t broken out as a vital cog in an offense, the undrafted free agent out of Prairie View A&M has overcome the odds to be going into his sixth season in the NFL in 2023.
Cleveland fans will remember Hodge quite fondly. While a reunion isn’t in the cards to start 2023, Browns fans would strum along to his celebration if he ever did find his way back.
Always fun to catch up on former Browns doing well.