Al Gross and Felix Wright combined to start at safety for six of the seven seasons from 1984-90 as the Browns rose to power, making five straight playoff appearances for the first time in over 40 years and advancing to the AFC Championship Game for the first three times in club history.
All those firsts both personally and team-wise will be the focus as Gross and Wright serve as the Browns’ honorary captains for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Gross signed with the Browns in 1983 and played with them for five years. He tied for first on the team with five interceptions in 1984, then had five more in ’85 to finish first all by himself.
He scored the Browns’ first touchdown in 1986 when he recovered a fumble in the end zone at Chicago just 1:45 into the first quarter of the first game. He also made history when the play became the first one to be reviewed as the NFL that season instituted instant replay to assist officials with calls for the first time.
But Gross suffered a knee injury later in the game and again in 1987, prematurely ending his career.
The second injury opened the door for Wright, who signed with the Browns as a free agent in 1985, becoming the first Drake product to play for the club. He took over and remained a starter through 1990.
He tied for first on the team with four interceptions in 1987 and had five again the next year to finish first all alone. It was also in 1988 that Wright tied a club playoff record with two interceptions in a game.
Alumni Spotlight is presented by Cuyahoga Community College Alumni & Friends Association -- Staying Connected.