This Day in Browns History - Feb. 13

Posted Feb 13, 2013

In this feature, looks back to the 1954 NFL Draft.

The Browns received a bonus, and then a surprise, on Feb. 13, 1954.

The Browns got the bonus pick -- the No. 1 overall choice -- in the 1954 NFL Draft as part of a lottery whereby one team each year from 1947-57 was given the top draft selection.

The Browns used the pick to take Stanford quarterback Bobby Garrett in hopes he would be the heir apparent to Otto Graham, who was nearing the end of his Pro Football Hall of Fame career.

But what the Browns didn’t realize at the time is that Garrett stuttered, which obviously made calling signals and plays extremely difficult.

As a result, Garrett never played for the Browns, who traded him to Green Bay. Similarly, the Packers did not learn of Garrett’s stuttering until after making the deal, and he played just that 1954 season with them before retiring.

Graham retired for good after the 1955 season, but, with the situation involving Garrett, it would not be until 1958 that Milt Plum emerged as a long-term successor, being an accomplished starter for four years.

A player who was Garrett’s teammate for that brief stay in Cleveland was safety Ken Gorgal, who was born on this date, Feb 13, in 1929 in LaSalle, Ill.

Gorgal, from Purdue, was a sixth-round draft choice of the Browns in 1950 and played with them for three seasons (1950, ’53 and ’54). He was a part-time starter in his first and third years and a full-time starter in his second season. The Browns went to the NFL Championship Game all three seasons and won two titles.

A real ball-hawk, Gorgal intercepted 11 passes, including six in 1950 when he was third on the club, and four in 1953 (second).

After leaving Cleveland, he went on to play two more seasons with the Chicago Bears and Packers.

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