As a child growing up in Ohio, I thought of the Cleveland Browns as gods. In that belief I was no different from most of my school friends. Our fall Sundays were spent watching the Browns on television or, if someone’s father could be persuaded to take us, from the upper deck of Cleveland Stadium. It was not until I was 13, however, that I got to see the Browns close up. It was early August, and my uncle, who was friends with Otto Graham, the Browns’ star quarterback, took me to the team’s training camp to watch their annual intersquad game. It was a shock. Not the size of the players. Nor their speed. Nor Otto Graham, who had the kindly, worn face of a minister rather than the look of an athlete. The shock was the viol...
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