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One that got away: Browns “biggest mistake” goes back further than you might imagine

The great Len Dawson is a Kansas City Chiefs legend and the Cleveland Browns biggest mistake

USA TODAY Sports David Boss-USA TODAY Sports

Asking a Cleveland Browns fan what the worst thing the team has ever done is like asking a parent who is their favorite child. If they are honest, they have one but each has its own special emotion tied to it.

For recent Browns fans, since The Return, draft picks, head coaching and front office hires or Jimmy Haslam buying the team might top the list. For the more middle-aged Cleveland fans, the move, moving on from Bernie Kosar, Red Right 88, The Fumble or The Drive might pop up.

For those that have been around the longest, the fight with Paul Brown that led to his departure, Art Modell buying the team, Jim Brown’s early retirement and a number of other decisions still haunt their memories.

Yahoo! Sports decided now was a great time to live in misery for all 32 NFL teams by looking at their biggest mistakes during the site’s “Week of Woe.” For this article, they look at the biggest mistake a team made in letting “the one” getaway. For the Browns, it is a player some may not remember even played for the team:

Cleveland Browns: Cutting Len Dawson

Technically, the Browns didn’t fire Bill Belichick until the NFL had approved the team’s move to Baltimore. So that doesn’t count. However, the team did cut Len Dawson before he went on to seven Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl IV MVP with the Chiefs. The Browns traded for Dawson, who was stuck behind Milt Plum for two seasons. He was released after the 1961 campaign having thrown just 28 passes for the team. The Browns haven’t had a Hall of Fame quarterback in the Super Bowl era.

Contemporary NFL fans were introduced to Dawson last season after the Kansas City Chiefs legend passed away in August.

As noted, Dawson played just two seasons for Cleveland, a total of nine games, after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers. After being released, Dawson played one year for the Dallas Texans before the team moved to Kansas City. He led the Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I and won his only NFL championship in Super Bowl IV where he was the game’s MVP.

Dawson entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

While many/most of you were aren’t in 1962, you have all experienced difficult times as Browns fans. While it might be painful, when you think of your worst experience, the worst decision the team ever made or your Cleveland football nightmare, what pops up?

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