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The Browns Remember: Paul Wiggin

Posted Feb 5, 2013

The Browns celebrate Black History Month by remembering one of its own, Paul Wiggin.

Paul Wiggin was part of the 2008 class of inductees into the Cleveland Browns Legends.

But the former defensive end was a Cleveland Browns legend long before that.

A Modesto, Cal. native, Wiggin was a standout defensive tackle at Stanford, twice being selected a first-team All-American and eventually being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005. He was also named Stanford’s Defensive Player of the Century in fan voting.

Wiggin was taken at No. 73 overall in the 1956 NFL Draft with the latter of the Browns’ two sixth-round picks. He came to Cleveland in 1957 and spent his entire 11-year NFL career there before retiring following the 1967 season.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder never missed a game with the Browns, playing in all 146, and was a starter for all but his rookie season.

Beginning in 1963 and for the final five years of his career, he played left end in front of another Cleveland Browns Legend, left linebacker Jim Houston, giving the club one of the strongest front seven duos in the NFL at the time. Their work together played a key role in the Browns making three postseason appearances during that stretch and winning 10 or more games – in what was then a 14-game schedule – in three consecutive years (1963-65).

The Browns made back-to-back trips to the NFL Championship Game in 1964 and ’65, winning the title the first year by routing the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts, 27-0, at Cleveland Stadium. It is regarded as the most complete performance in franchise history, and possibly also the greatest defensive effort.

With Wiggin helping to lead the way, the Browns put pressure all afternoon on quarterback John Unitas, holding him to just 95 yards passing en route to shutting out a Colts offense that had led the league in scoring during the regular season.

Wiggin twice made the Pro Bowl, following the 1965 and ’67 seasons. He scored two touchdowns in his career, one on a 20-yard interception return in 1960 and another on a fumble recovery in that title year of 1964. He had two interceptions overall.

Following his retirement from the Browns, Wiggin had a long coaching career in the NFL and college, serving as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and Stanford Cardinal for three years each. One of his players at Stanford was John Elway.

At 78, Wiggin remains involved in football, working as a senior consultant for pro personnel with the Minnesota Vikings.