DENVER -- For one former Cleveland Browns player, attending the Mile High Browns Backers’ Backer Bash at the Westin Hotel on Saturday night was a true homecoming.
Former Adams State (Colo.) University and Browns kicker/punter Don Cockroft joined Browns Legend Tom DeLeone at the Backer Bash and signed autographs for the fans in attendance.
“My whole family’s here tonight, so I appreciate the Browns for allowing me to be a part of this,” said Cockroft. “It’s very special for me.”
Cockroft’s book, The 1980 Kardiac Kids: “Our Untold Stories,” was available for purchase and the author graciously signed copies for the fans.
“The book is absolutely gorgeous,” Cockroft said. “That part is special, but now, people are saying, ‘Man, I get goose bumps when I read those stories.’ The thing that is most amazing to me is when people get this book, it makes them happy because it brings back Tom DeLeone, the Kardiac Kids, Brian Sipe. It’s all special. I’m just proud to be a part of it.”
DeLeone, a former Ohio State star, was an anchor of the Browns’ offensive line from 1974-84, including the 1980 Kardiac Kids season.
DeLeone played in 149 regular season games with the Browns during his 11-year tenure with the team. He blocked for running backs who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark a combined seven times -- including Greg Pruitt (1975-77) and Mike Pruitt (1979-81, 1983) -- and earned two Pro Bowl selections in 1980 and 1981.
After his career with the Browns, DeLeone relocated to Park City, Utah and made the trip to Denver for Saturday night’s event.
“I love the fans,” DeLeone said. “(With) Browns fans, no matter what happens, they’re going to be fans forever. Ohio State fans are the same way. Once they decide they’re going to be your fan, they’re your fan for life. These fans are the greatest.”
In addition greeting the team at the hotel upon its arrival in Denver, the Mile High Browns Backers held a raffle of Browns prizes, including pregame field passes for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. Proceeds from the raffle benefitted the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“We have one member that has MS; my best friend has MS and Colorado has the highest MS (rate) in the country,” said Tony Schott, president of the Mile High Browns Backers. “They need all the help they can get for their research and hopefully, cure the disease sooner or later.”