10 biggest first round mistakes the Cleveland Browns have made since ’99

Cleveland Browns (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Williams Green (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

10. RB William Green (2002 NFL Draft: Round 1, Pick 16)

No fan under 25 will ever forget Jim Donovan’s “Run, William, run!” call to cap off the magical 2002 season. The Browns needed a win to keep themselves in the playoff chase, and with a slight lead over the Atlanta Falcons, a then-rookie Green snapped off a mammoth run that capped off a 64-yard run for a touchdown that sealed the game for the team.

Green ran for 178 yards that game, a career-high and a cap to a rookie season full of potential. Wasted potential. After posting 887 yards in 2002, splitting time with the versatile Jamel White, Green became the ball-dominant starter in 2003 but rushed for only 559 yards. Still the primary back in 2004, Green rushed for 585 yards but lost his golden boy status to Lee Suggs, who outrushed him with 744 yards. In his final year with the Browns, Green posted a pathetic 78 yards on only 20 attempts. That year the Browns brought in former-Broncos running back Reuben Droughns to serve as a replacement for Green.

In one year Droughns rushed for 1232 yards, only 799 yards less than Green rushed for his entire tenure as a Cleveland Brown. His performance wasn’t the only issue with the team, as Green found himself in trouble a bit. In 2003, Green was arrested for drunk driving and possession. The league suspended him, thinking “hey, he’s at home, what more trouble could he get into?”

I’m sure we all thought that. His wife didn’t think that though, as she stabbed him in the back. Not metaphorically, by the way. Literally. She drove a knife into his back. The best part about all this, if there is a “best part” to being stabbed in the back by your wife, is the excuse Green gave to police. Green told officers that he fell, going up the stairs while holding a knife.


All is not lost for Green, as he and his wife (yes, the backstabber) are still together and are raising all eight of Green’s kids together. Green’s also an ordained minister these days as well as a motivational speaker, so at least he turned his life around.

His entry may be a bit more flippant because of the outlandish portions but reading his comments on his time in Cleveland and his thoughts and views on the sport since retirement, it’s hard not to like Green. At least the man he is now. He’s humble, accepting and doesn’t have any regrets about how his career went.

Green deserves some love for showing ex-NFL players how to recover and thrive in a post-NFL world.