Former Browns defensive lineman Michael Dean Perry was a second round pick of the club in 1988 out of Clemson University. He spent seven years in Cleveland before ending his career in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.
Though it has been 16 seasons since Perry donned a No. 92 jersey and stepped onto the field for the Browns, Cleveland is never far from his mind.
“I do a sports radio show in Charlotte and we always have ‘Victory Monday,’” said Perry. “I played seven years here in Cleveland; I played three in Denver. We always watch the teams to see what happens on Sunday. Whenever the Broncos win, they say, ‘Michael Dean, you have a ‘Victory Monday.’’ I say, ‘No, I’m with the Browns. The Browns are my team.’
“Whenever the Browns win, I have ‘Victory Monday,’” he added. “You’re a Brown through-and-through and with the tradition and all the great players that have played here before me and will play after me, it’s just a great fraternity to be mentioned with and be amongst.”
Although Perry registered six sacks in his rookie season, his responsibilities changed when the Browns let go of coach Marty Schottenheimer and brought in Bud Carson in 1989.
“To Marty’s credit, he started running a nickel package, a dime package and we had four down linemen. I started to get into the dime and nickel packages as a pass rusher, so I started getting more playing time,” Perry said. “They let Marty go. Then, they bring in Bud Carson and a guy by the name of John Teerlinck. Teerlinck came and he watched all the defensive linemen and when I came in for that workout, he said, ‘Man, I’m going to tell you something. You’re not coming off the field.’ I look at him like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He said, ‘You’re not coming off the field.’
“Sure enough, when Bud put in that 4-3, he had me in the three technique on the outside shade of the guard and also the nose,” he continued. “He said, ‘This is what I want you to do: I want you to clock on that center and want you to hit it. Just cause havoc, cause chaos.’ I’m smiling to myself saying, ‘I can do that. Okay. No problem.’ That’s where it started and that’s how I ended up being the player that I am, because of Bud Carson as well as John Teerlinck putting me in the right situation, the right position to allow my abilities to shine.”
Perry finished his seven years in Cleveland with 51.5 quarterback sacks, the fourth-most in team history. Statistically, Perry’s best year was 1990, when he registered 11.5 sacks. In his Browns career, he never had less than four sacks in a year and only had fewer than six once.
When Perry was on the field, he made an effort to give the fans his best, which helped make his time with the Browns special.
“What was so great about playing here in Cleveland, and back then, we didn’t have what they have now which is a broader form of free agency, when you came to a team back in those days, you stayed for a period of time,” Perry said. “When I came in, you had the Clay Matthews’, the Hanfords (Dixon), Bernie (Kosar). Being here for several years, you developed a great relationship with the fans, the Dawg Pound and a blue collar town, they love athletes who laid it on the line each and every Sunday.
“I was so appreciative of the fans and vice versa because they knew when 92 came on that field on Sunday, he was going to play his very best,” he concluded. “He was going to give it all he had. I think the fans appreciated the way I played and I appreciated them for loving me the way that they have and still today, embrace me and call me one of their favorites. It was just a great connection I had with the fans in Cleveland.”