You’ve been voting for the best Cleveland Browns players, of August, on the Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima.
Who stood out in training camp – but then never amounted to much during the regular season? Here’s our finalists:
Syndric Steptoe – WR, Arizona
Drafted by CLE in 2007, R7, #234
Browns Camp 2007, ’08, 09
Hartford Colonials 2010, Edmonton Eskimos 2012. Injured in two of his three seasons in Cleveland, Steptoe made the 2008 53-man roster, and finished his NFL career with 19 catches and 182 yards.
Carlton Mitchell – WR, South Florida
Drafted by CLE in 2010, R6, #177
Browns Camp 2010-’11
Jacksonville Jaguars 2012, Dallas Cowboys/ Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Edmonton Eskimos 2013, Ottawa Redblacks 2014, Atlanta Falcons 2015. *Talented, fast, and great with the fans, Mitchell was hampered by leg injuries during his professional career. Finished with 3 catches for 31 yards.
Josh Lenz – WR, Iowa State
Undrafted in 2013
Cleveland Browns 2015
Chicago Bears/Seattle Seahawks/Indianapolis Colts 2013, Colts 2014, Houston Texans 2015-’16. Lenz was signed before camp in 2015 and quickly became a lightning rod for controversy on sports talk radio. Legend has it Dwayne Bowe was chosen to make the 53-man roster over Lenz at final cut down, mostly because of the $9 mil guaranteed to Bowe. While a fan favorite, Lenz recorded no regular season stats during his career, while Bowe went on to wear eye black and sweat pants while being deactivated for regular season home games.
Charles Johnson – WR, Grand Valley St.
Drafted by Green Bay in 2013, R7, #216
Signed by Cleveland before non-football IR in 2013. Cleveland Browns 2013-14
Minnesota Vikings 2014-16. Carolina Panthers 2017 (waived w/injury settlement). One of the more successful Training Camp HOF Nominees, Johnson was believed to be misused and misjudged by Browns coaches during his tenure. Johnson was picked up by Minnesota in 2014 at the urging of Browns former Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner, and quickly enjoyed his most successful season, catching 31 passes for 475 yards and two touchdowns. As of 8/26/17, Johnson has 60 receptions for 834 yards and two TD’s.
Willie Snead – WR, Ball State
Undrafted in 2014
Cleveland Browns/Carolina Panthers 2014
New Orleans Saints 2014-Present. Without question, the most successful of the nominees, Willie Snead has amassed 141 receptions for 1,879 yards and seven touchdowns in his NFL career. All numbers accomplished with Drew Brees throwing to him. All numbers impossible to attain with Johnny Manziel maybe-sorta-throwing to him.
Ben Gay – RB, Garden City CC
Undrafted in 2001
Making the Browns squad in 2001, Gay’s career day came on Nov. 18th, when he rushed for 56 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. Gay finished his career with 172 yards.
James Davis – RB, Clemson
Drafted by CLE in 2009, R6, #195
Cleveland Browns 2009-10
Washington Redskins 2010, Houston Texans/Detroit Lions 2011. Chosen by many fantasy football owners as “a late round sleeper” (Wikipedia), Davis landed on IR after an injury in practice. Many fans were outraged as it was originally reported that Davis was tackled without shoulder pads on. An NFL investigation found no wrongdoing. He ended his career with 75 rushing yards.
Mason Unck – LB, Arizona State
Undrafted in 2003
Cleveland Browns 2003-06
Mason Unck was an underrated camp HOF nominee as he spent four seasons with the Browns, collecting 35 tackles, primarily on special teams. He became a fan favorite for his bald headed look that rivaled badass Stone Cold Steve Austin. Browns fans would later feel the same about Mike Pettine.
C.J. Jones – WR, Iowa
Undrafted in 2003
Cleveland Browns 2003-04
Cologne Centurions/Montreal Alouettes 2005, Berlin Thunder/Seattle Seahawks 2006, New England Patriots 2007-08, Kansas City Chiefs/Denver Broncos 2009, Florida Tuskers 2010. Jones was well liked by fans for his zest for playing on special teams in training camp, and also being willing to sign a ton of autographs. He might hold records for amount of NFL uniforms worn without recording regular season stats, professional leagues played in (four) and while recording no yards, has logged 23, 151 miles between home cities.