Leon McFadden, the Cleveland Browns’ third-round pick, at No. 68 overall, in the 2013 NFL Draft, grew up in an athletic household. However, football was not his first sport.
The newest Browns defensive back out of San Diego State University is the son of Leon McFadden, who played nine years of professional baseball. The elder McFadden was a pitcher, shortstop and outfielder, and spent parts of three years in the Major Leagues with the Houston Astros from 1968 to 1970.
“Growing up, the first sport I ever played was baseball,” McFadden said. “I did all sports growing up, but my dad never pushed me into just playing baseball. He wanted me to live the dream I wanted to do, the sport that I loved to play, and football was the sport that I loved to play. I went with it and he supported me. Both parents were really big on education, and then, sports. Baseball was not pressured on me.”
Although the elder McFadden let his son choose his favorite sport, he did serve as a mentor.
“My dad had a big influence on me,” McFadden said. “My dad always pushed me to my fullest potential, and he supported everything I did. He was hard on me to an extent. He wants what every father wants, for you to play your best and go between the lines and play hard and give your all at anything you’re doing.”
Those lessons have not stopped, despite the fact that the younger McFadden had a standout four-year career at San Diego State. McFadden carries those lessons learned from his father to the next phase of his football career.
“He spoke to me about how to carry yourself not as a collegiate athlete anymore,” McFadden said. “You’re going to be a professional. This is your profession, so you have to carry yourself in a different manner.
“I’m very excited. Words can’t explain how excited I am to be a part of the Cleveland Browns’ organization. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to working my butt off on the field and helping the team get wins.”