1999 Cleveland Browns season
The 1999 Cleveland Browns season was the Browns 51st season overall and 47th in the NFL. It marked the return of professional football to the city of Cleveland, Ohio for the first time since the 1995 season, when the franchise was temporarily deactivated following the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, which ultimately established the Baltimore Ravens. Officially, the Browns are considered a continuation of the previous franchise, as the history and colors of the team remained in Cleveland. The franchise was still alive as a legal entity between 1996–1998 and its assets kept in a trust managed by the NFL until Al Lerner became the owner in 1998. The Browns, however, in 1999 were treated as a new franchise by having an expansion draft and receiving the number one overall draft pick.
|1999 Cleveland Browns season|
|Head coach||Chris Palmer|
|General manager||Dwight Clark|
|Home field||Cleveland Browns Stadium|
|Local radio||WTAM · WMJI|
|Division place||6th AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
During the course of the 1995 season, then-Browns owner Art Modell announced his decision to move the Browns to Baltimore. Modell's new team would begin playing in the 1996 season. It would be the first time since 1935 that Cleveland would be left without an existing football team and the first time since 1943 without a team playing, when the Cleveland Rams suspended operation for one year, so the other teams could have enough players during World War II.
However, many Browns fans and Cleveland city officials were determined to keep the team in Cleveland, and orchestrated a grassroots movement to keep the team in Cleveland. The NFL responded by working with city officials, and the two parties came to a unique agreement which would provide the city with a brand-new, state-of-the-art stadium and would promise the return of professional football to Cleveland by the beginning of the 1999 season. Modell also agreed to relinquish the Browns' name, colors and team history to the new owner of the Browns. Modell's new team would begin playing in the 1996 season as the Baltimore Ravens.
While the Browns' new stadium was being built on the site of the old Cleveland Stadium, the foundation of the front office was being set in place. Al Lerner won a bidding war for the new team for $750 million. Lerner hired former San Francisco 49ers front office staffers Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark as the Browns' president and vice president.
Football finally returned to Cleveland on September 12 when the Browns opened the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home; Cleveland native Drew Carey was present and gave a rousing pre-game speech. However, the fans were sorely disappointed as the Browns were defeated by the Steelers 43–0. The team would go on to lose their first seven games, but finally in week 8 of their inaugural season the "New Browns" got their first ever win over the New Orleans Saints. From the Browns' 42-yard line Tim Couch squared up and threw a Hail Mary pass that was tipped in the endzone by Saints defenders but then caught by the Browns' Kevin Johnson. The dramatic game-winning touchdown play happened in the last two seconds of the game, causing the final score to be 21–16. Two weeks later, the Browns defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh, 16–15, for their second and final win of the year.
The Browns finished the season 2–14—sixth in the AFC Central. It was, at the time, the worst record that the Browns had ever compiled at the end of a season. Since then, the 2016 and 2017 Browns finished with worse records). The Browns did not win a home game throughout the season.
|Draft order||Player name||Position||College|
|2||32||Kevin Johnson||Wide receiver||Syracuse|
|78||Marquis Smith||Defensive back||California|
|5||148||Darrin Chiaverini||Wide Receiver||Colorado|
|6||174||Marcus Spriggs||Defensive tackle||Troy State|
|191||James Dearth||Tight end||Tarleton State|
|7||207||Madre Hill||Running back||Arkansas|
Players selected from other teams in the Cleveland Expansion Draft, in order of selection.
|1. C Jim Pyne, Detroit|
|2. DE Hurvin McCormack, Dallas|
|3. T Scott Rehberg, New England|
|4. WR Damon Gibson, Cincinnati|
|5. C Steve Gordon, San Francisco|
|6. LB Tarek Saleh, Carolina|
|7. G Jeff Buckey, Miami|
|8. LS Jason Kyle, Seattle|
|9. DE Rod Manuel, Pittsburgh|
|10. LB Lenoy Jones, Tennessee|
|11. CB Tim McTyer, Philadelphia|
|12. LB Elijah Alexander, Indianapolis|
|13. T Pete Swanson, Kansas City|
|14. S Gerome Williams, San Diego|
|15. S Marlon Forbes, Chicago|
|16. WR Justin Armour, Denver|
|17. T Paul Wiggins, Washington|
|18. S Duane Butler, Minnesota|
|19. WR Fred Brock, Arizona|
|20. CB Kory Blackwell, N.Y. Giants|
|21. CB Kevin Devine, Jacksonville|
|22. CB Ray Jackson, Buffalo|
|23. G Jim Bundren, N.Y. Jets|
|24. G Ben Cavil, Baltimore|
|25. RB Michael Blair, Green Bay|
|26. DT Antonio Anderson, Dallas|
|27. G Orlando Bobo, Minnesota|
|28. LB James Williams, San Francisco|
|29. QB Scott Milanovich, Tampa Bay|
|30. S Eric Stokes, Seattle|
|31. RB Ronald Moore, Miami|
|32. RB Clarence Williams, Buffalo|
|33. WR Freddie Solomon, Philadelphia|
|34. S Brandon Sanders, N.Y. Giants|
|35. DT Mike Thompson, Cincinnati|
|36. RB Jerris McPhail, Detroit|
|37. CB Antonio Langham, San Francisco|
|1999 Cleveland Browns staff|
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|1999 Cleveland Browns final roster|
|(1) Jacksonville Jaguars||14||2||0||.875||396||217||W1|
|(4) Tennessee Titans||13||3||0||.813||392||324||W4|
- "History: Cleveland Browns Draft History: 1990s". Cleveland Browns official Web site. Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- "Team Histories – Baltimore Ravens". Pro Football Hall of Fame official Web site. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- "Team Histories – Cleveland Browns". Pro Football Hall of Fame official Web site. Archived from the original on 13 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- "Cleveland Browns (1946–1995; 1999–Present)". Sports E-Cyclopedia. Archived from the original on 2 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-13.