Browns Connections: Wildcard Round

Posted Jan 3, 2013

Many of those in the NFL playoffs have connections to Cleveland and the Browns organization.

With the Wildcard round of the NFL playoffs set to begin Saturday, several players and coaches on the participating teams have a connection to Cleveland and the state of Ohio. takes a look at those connections.

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans, 4:30pm ET Saturday on NBC


Browns defensive end Frostee Rucker was drafted by the Bengals, and spent the first six years of his NFL career in Cincinnati. He made 147 total tackles and registered seven sacks in his Bengals career.

Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron spent four seasons with the Bengals from 1978-81 after he was drafted and played for five years with the Detroit Lions.

Browns defensive tackle John Hughes (Gahanna) and offensive lineman John Greco (Youngstown/Boardman High School) are Ohio natives. Hughes (University of Cincinnati) and Greco (University of Toledo) went to college in Ohio.

Bengals safety Chris Crocker (2003-05) and quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (2008) played with the Browns. Crocker was a third-round selection of the Browns in the 2003 NFL Draft.

Cincinnati defensive back Nate Clements (Shaker Heights), wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher (Toledo/Central Catholic), tight end Richard Quinn (Maple Heights), fullback John Conner (West Chester/Lakota West), running back Dan Herron (Warren/Harding), punter Kevin Huber (Cincinnati/Archbishop McNicholas), kicker Mike Nugent (Kettering/Centerville), and practice squad linebacker J.K. Schaffer (Cincinnati) are Ohio natives.

Clements (Ohio State), Gradkowski (Toledo), wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (Toledo), Herron (Ohio State), Huber (Cincinnati), Sanzenbacher (Ohio State), Nugent (Ohio State), practice squad wide receiver Vidal Hazelton (Cincinnati) and Schaffer (Cincinnati) went to college in Ohio.


Ray Rhodes, the Browns’ senior assistant to the defense, spent three seasons coaching with the Texans. Rhodes was the assistant defensive backs coach in 2008 and the senior assistant defensive coach from 2009-10. Rhodes is a native of Mexia, Texas and played two years of football at Texas Christian University.

Running back Chris Ogbonnaya spent the 2010 season on the Texans’ practice squad and played in two games in 2011 before being signed by the Browns. Ogbonnaya is a native of Houston.

Strength and conditioning coach Kent Johnston is also a native of Mexia and went to Stephen F. Austin University. He coached at both Teague and Willis high schools in Texas.

Nolan Cromwell, the team’s senior assistant to the offense, was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M from 2008-09.

The Browns have several Texas natives on their roster, including linebackers Craig Robertson (Stafford) and Tank Carder (Sweeny), kicker Phil Dawson (Dallas/Lake Highlands), defensive lineman Juqua Parker (Houston/Aldine) defensive backs Tashuan Gipson (Dallas/Kimball) and Trevin Wade (Round Rock/Stony Point), quarterback Colt McCoy (Tuscola/Jim Ned), Ogbonnaya (Houston/Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School) and wide receiver Josh Gordon (Houston/Lamar).

Robertson (University of North Texas), Dawson, Ogbonnaya and McCoy (University of Texas), Carder (TCU), offensive lineman Oniel Cousins (University of Texas-El Paso), Gordon and defensive linemen Phil Taylor (Baylor) and Ahtyba Rubin (Trinity Valley Community College) all went to college in Texas.

Houston wide receiver DeVier Posey (Cincinnati/LaSalle) is an Ohio native. He played football at Ohio State.

Texans outside linebacker Connor Barwin went to the University of Cincinnati, and guard Brandon Brooks played at Miami (Ohio) University.

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers, 8:00pm ET Saturday on NBC


Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph (Cincinnati/Archbishop Elder) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (Akron/Garfield) are Ohio natives.

Winfield and Vikings wide receiver Michael Jenkins played football at Ohio State.

Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress was the Vikings’ head coach from 2006-2010.

Minnesota offensive line coach Jeff Davidson was an assistant for the Browns from 2005-06. Davidson is an Akron native and was an All-Big Ten player for Ohio State.


Browns running back Brandon Jackson spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Packers and earned a championship ring with the team in Super Bowl XLV.

Browns senior advisor Gil Haskell served as an assistant with the Packers from 1992-97.

Jauron was the Packers’ defensive backs coach from 1986-94. Rhodes was the Packers’ head coach in 1999 and also served as the team’s defensive coordinator from 1992-93.

Johnston served as the Packers’ strength and conditioning coach from 1992-98, while linebackers coach Bill Davis was a defensive assistant/defensive line coach for Green Bay in 2000.

Defensive backs coach Tim Hauck played for the Packers from 1991-94, and Cromwell was Green Bay’s special teams coordinator from 1992-97, as well as the wide receivers coach in 1998.

Childress coached the running backs (1991) and served as quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator (1992-98) at the University of Wisconsin.

Running backs coach Gary Brown worked with the Packers in 2006 as part of the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

Five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas is a native of Brookfield, Wis. He went to Brookfield Central High School and played football at the University of Wisconsin.

Packers quarterback Graham Harrell was with the Browns for rookie minicamp in both 2009 and 2010.

Packers wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett and offensive line coach James Campen played for Haskell in Green Bay.

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers was born in Cambridge, Ohio, and later became a safety/linebacker for the University of Mount Union in Alliance. He also served as an assistant coach at Kent State University (1972-74) and Ohio State (1982-83).

Green Bay quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo coached at The University of Akron (2003-04), and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac was a two-sport, All-Ohio athlete at Austintown-Fitch High School. Trgovac was born in Youngstown.

Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (Centerville), tight end Tom Crabtree (Columbus/Bloom Carroll), running back Brandon Saine (Piqua), defensive end Jerel Worthy (Dayton/Huber Heights Wayne) and multi-time Pro Bowl defensive back Charles Woodson (Fremont/Ross) are Ohio natives.

Hawk (Ohio State), defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (Ohio State), Saine (Ohio State), Crabtree (Miami of Ohio) played college football in Ohio.

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III is the son of Browns Legend, Clay Matthews, who played in the more games (232) and consecutive seasons (16) than anyone in the history of the Browns organization. Matthews played in Cleveland from 1978-93.

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens, 1:00pm ET, Sunday on CBS


Childress landed his first NFL job as Indianapolis’ quarterbacks coach in 1985.

Jauron spent some of his childhood in Rensselaer, Indiana, where his father served as head coach of St. Joseph’s College.

Browns defensive assistant Chuck Bullough was a linebacker for the Colts during their 1996 training camp, while Hauck played in Indianapolis in 1998.

Browns punter Reggie Hodges went to Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

Former Browns defensive lineman Clifton Geathers is on the Colts’ active roster, while safety Larry Asante and linebacker Quinton Spears are on the reserve/futures list. Asante (fifth round) and Geathers (sixth round) were selected by the Browns in the 2010 NFL Draft. Spears spent the 2011 season with the Browns.

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was the Browns’ defensive backs coach from 2001-04. Under his direction, the Browns’ defensive backs registered 28 of the team’s NFL-best 33 interceptions in 2001.

Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians spent three seasons in the same capacity with the Browns (2001-03).

Colts special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf worked with film breakdown and the Browns’ special teams from 2004-06. Maalouf graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College (now Baldwin Wallace University) and grew up in Strongsville, Ohio.

Colts assistant special teams coach Brant Boyer was a linebacker for the Browns from 2001-2003 and a two-time USA Today All-Joe Team member. He was also the team’s Unsung Hero Award winner in 2002.

Colts tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts held the same position with the Browns from 2007-08.

Colts offensive linemen Jeffrey Linkenbach (Sandusky/Castalia Margaretta) and McGlynn (Austintown/Fitch), running back Delone Carter (Akron/Copley), nose tackle Brandon McKinney (Dayton), and wide receiver Griff Whalen (Sylvania) are Ohio natives.

Wide receiver LaVon Brazill (Ohio University), defensive tackle Ricardo Mathews (Cincinnati), Linkenbach (Cincinnati) and practice squad linebacker Monte Simmons (Kent State) went to college in Ohio.


Cousins was a third-round pick of the Ravens in 2008 and played three seasons in Baltimore from 2008-10. Defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen was an undrafted free-agent signee of the Ravens after the 2012 NFL Draft.

Joshua Cribbs (Washington D.C./Dunbar), defensive backs Joe Haden (Fort Washington/Friendly) Johnson Bademosi (Silver Springs/Gonzaga) and Usama Young (Largo) and Taylor (Clinton/Gwynn Park) are Maryland/Washington, D.C. natives.

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson played football at the University of Maryland.

Cleveland’s assistant strength and conditioning coach Rick Lyle was a defensive lineman for the Ravens during the 1996 season.

Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome was selected by the Browns with the No. 23 overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft and became a Hall of Fame inductee after playing with the team from 1978-90. Newsome still holds seven franchise records (most catches in a career, season and game, most consecutive games with a catch, yards in a career and game and most seasons with 50 or more receptions).

Newsome got his start in the front office with the Browns’ pro personnel department from 1991-95.

Baltimore’s assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg coached the Browns’ special teams from 2001-06 and his special teams units ranked in the top 10 in several categories during that time.

Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks served in the same capacity with the Browns in 1999.

Pees was Cribbs’ head coach at Kent State and guided him to 13 school records. Under Pees’ direction, Cribbs became only the second player in NCAA history to rush for and also throw for more than 1,000 yards in a single season.

Chris Hewitt, Baltimore’s assistant special teams coach, served as an intern with the Browns in 2001 through the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (Perrysburg/Miami of Ohio), inside linebackers coach Don Martindale (Dayton/Defiance College) and defensive coordinator Dean Pees (Dunkirk/Bowling Green State University) are Ohio natives.

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins, 4:30 ET, Sunday on FOX


Haskell spent nine years with the Seahawks, first as the offensive coordinator (2000-06) and then, the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator (2007-08).

Offensive assistant Chris Beake was Seattle’s quality control/offensive coach in 2008, and the offensive assistant/assistant special teams coach in 2009, while defensive line coach Dwaine Board held a similar position in Seattle from 2003-08.

Cromwell was Seattle’s wide receivers coach from 1999-2007, and Johnston served as Seahawks strength and conditioning coach from 1999-2003.

Rhodes was Seattle’s defensive coordinator from 2003-05, and was in charge of special projects for the defense from 2006-07.

Seattle quarterbacks coach Carl Smith was an assistant for the Browns from 2001-03, and again in 2009-10.

Seattle defensive end Greg Scruggs (Cincinnati/St. Xavier) is an Ohio native.

Seahawks wide receiver Phil Bates played football at Ohio University.


Rhodes was the Redskins’ defensive coordinator in 2000, while wide receivers coach Mike Wilson worked with Washington’s receivers in 2003 as part of the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

Cribbs is from Washington D.C. (Dunbar High School), while Bademosi (Silver Springs), Young (Largo), Haden (Fort Washington) and Taylor (Clinton) are Maryland natives. Rubin was born in Fort Belvoir, Va.

Redskins linebackers coach Bob Slowik was the Browns’ defensive coordinator in 1999. Defensive line coach Jacob Burney held the same position with the Browns from 1994-95.

Washington tight ends coach Sean McVay played football at Miami (Ohio) and assistant head coach/running backs coach Bobby Turner coached at Ohio State from 1989-90.

London Fletcher (Cleveland/Villa Angela-St. Joseph), nose tackle Barry Cofield (Cleveland/Cleveland Heights), tight end Fred Davis (Toledo/Rogers), offensive lineman Kory Lichtensteiger (Van Wert/Convoy Crestview) and practice squad fullback Eric Kettani (Mentor/Lake Catholic) have ties to Ohio.

Fletcher (John Carroll University), wide receiver Pierre Garcon (Mount Union), Lichtensteiger (Bowling Green) and defensive tackle Doug Worthington (Ohio State) went to college in Ohio.

Redskins defensive back Chase Minnifield is the son of Browns Legend Frank Minnifield.

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