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The Legend of Lou Groza

It is time for another profile of a Cleveland Browns legend.

Lou Groza is one of the greatest players to ever sport the Browns jersey. He died on November 29, 2000 just shy of 77 years old. Born on January 25, 1974, Lou was a native of Ohio. His parents were living in Martins Ferry when Lou was born. The family were Hungarian immigrants. Lou had three brothers all of whom were very athletic and quite tall; Lou was the smallest of the clan at 6 foot 3 inches. In fact, one of Lou's brothers became a star NBA basketball player and then cocah. Lou's college football was played at Ohio State University but lasted just one season as he was drafted into the Army. Upon his discharge from the Army, Lou joined the Browns and the AAFC. He played 21 years of pro football, all with the Cleveland Browns, between 1946-1959 and 1961-1967. Lou briefly retired in the intervening period.

Lou retired at the end of the 1967 season as the last standing original Brown. Nobody had ever played more seasons of pro football than Lou at the time of his retirement.

Lou played at a time when you had to be good at more than one aspect of the game. Renowned for his kicking ability, Groza also played offensive tackle.

Lou's records are truly awesome. He was voted to the Pro Bowl nine times. He was named an All-NFL tackle six times. He was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1950s. Lou led the NFL in field goals five times - 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954 and 1957. In 1950, Groza's field goal with just 30 seconds left in the game won the Browns the Championship. That year, Groza also led the league in field goal percentage. He was named the NFL's Player of the Year in 1954. In 1957, Lou tied for the most points in the league. His number 76 jersey (to match his age when he passed away) was retired by the Browns. Lou was elected to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in 1974. In 1992, an award was created in Lou's name to honour the NCAA's best Division I-A kicker. Lou was named in 1999 to the exclusive list of the 100 greatest players in pro football history. The Browns' training facility in Berea, Ohio is located at 76 Lou Groza Boulevard.

Lou's nickname for obvious reasons was "The Toe". Groza wrote his autobiography in 1996 called "The Toe: The Lou Groza Story". It is a great book full of cherished moments in Browns history.

We are fortunate currently to have the services of Phil Dawson who is a very good field goal kicker as evident from the thrilling win on Monday night in Buffalo last year. Phil strives to be the very best. Lou Groza was the very best.

Go Browns!

-Clayton

http://www.clevelandbrownsweblog.com
Devo's Cleveland Browns

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