Quarterback Mike Pagel came from a different NFL team.
Offensive guard/tackle Dan Fike came from a different league.
But both found their niche when they got to Cleveland a year apart in the mid-1980s, and in doing so, they helped the Browns find their niche.
All the good memories that emanated from that -- the Browns got to the doorstep of the Super Bowl three times in a four-year span -- are the reason why they’ll serve as the honorary captains for today’s game against the San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Fike, who spent his first eight seasons (1985-92) with the Browns before finishing up by playing three games with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in 1993, was originally a 10th-round choice of the New York Jets in the 1983 NFL Draft out of Florida. He never played for the Jets, but instead went to the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits for two seasons, 1984 and ’85.
When the USFL went out of business, he signed as a free agent with the Browns in 1985. Because the USFL season was held in the spring, Fike ended up playing in a combined 40 games in the 1985 calendar year -- 31 in the regular season, three in the playoffs, and six in the preseason.
With Fike starting 12 games at right guard and one at right tackle in that first season, the Browns won the AFC Central title for the first time in five years and had two 1,000-yard rushers in Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner. He continued to play right guard for most of the rest of his career, then finished his time in Cleveland at right tackle. One of the best guards in the league early in his career, he was named second-team All-Pro in both 1986 and ’87.
Now 51, Fike lives with his family in the Cleveland suburb of Westlake and owns and operates Let’s Entertain Party Rental.
Pagel, the younger brother of former Cleveland Indians slugger Karl Pagel, starred at Arizona State, where he once threw for 466 yards and seven touchdowns in a 26-point win over John Elway and Stanford. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Colts in 1982, playing with them for their last two seasons in Baltimore and then for their first two years in Indianapolis before being traded to the Browns in 1986.
He mostly served as a backup to Bernie Kosar during his five seasons in Cleveland (1986-90), but he got a chance to play when Kosar got hurt in 1988 and was 2-1 in games in which he started and finished.
Also a holder on field goals and extra points, Pagel threw a TD pass to Van Waiters in overtime on a fake field goal to gain a key win over Minnesota late in 1989.
He ended his 12-year career by spending 1991-93 with the Los Angeles Rams.
Pagel, 52, resides with his family in the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville and works at AT&T and as a football analyst on WTAM radio.
Alumni Spotlight is presented by Cuyahoga Community College Alumni & Friends Association -- Staying Connected.