Ozzie Newsome Cleveland Browns
"I don’t like dropping anything. I haven’t played this game as long as I have, as well as I have, dropping footballs…I guess I’m a perfectionist.”
Throughout his 13-season, 198-game NFL career with the Cleveland Browns from 1978 to 1990, Ozzie Newsome was a fixture at tight end, a true team leader in every respect, and one of only five players in Browns history to play in parts of three decades.
Nicknamed the “Wizard of Oz,” Newsome became the leading tight end receiver in NFL history with 662 receptions for 7,980 yards and 47 touchdowns. He ranked as the fourth leading receiver when he retired.
Newsome, who was born March 16, 1956, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, was an All-America at the University of Alabama in 1977 and he became one of two first-round draft selections of the Browns a year later. The first rookie in 25 years to be named the Browns’ Offensive Player of the Year in 1978, Ozzie earned all-pro honors in his second season in 1979, and again in 1984.
He was a vital cog in the potent offensive machine that took the Browns to three AFC championship showdowns against the Denver Broncos in a four-year stretch between 1986 and 1989. He also was a Pro Bowl choice following the 1981, 1984 and 1985 seasons.
An outstanding citizen as well as a consummate team player, Newsome won the NFL Players Association Whizzer White award for community service in 1990. Four years earlier in 1986, he won the Ed Block Courage Award for continuing to play in spite of injuries.
A long-time Browns offensive captain, Newsome played in 198 consecutive games. He had 89 receptions both in 1983 and 1984. Ozzie caught at least one pass in 150 consecutive games, the second longest streak in NFL annals at the time, a streak that ended in 1989. The 6-2, 232-pound tight end caught 50 or more passes six seasons, had three or more receptions in 112 games and eight or more catches 13 times. His biggest single game came against the New York Jets in 1984 when he caught 14 passes for 191 yards.