The Browns may have been struggling at the time, but Jerry Sherk certainly wasn’t.
In fact, the defensive tackle was at the top of his game.
Sherk, in his sixth season, was the lone Browns representative in the Pro Bowl, which was played on Jan. 26, 1976, at the Superdome in New Orleans. Sherk’s AFC squad lost, 23-20, to the NFC in a contest played not on a Sunday, as has almost always been the case with the Pro Bowl, but rather on a Monday night.
Sherk was making the third of what would turn out to be four consecutive Pro Bowl trips, which is the second-most by a defensive lineman in Browns history. He was regarded as one of the finest defensive tackles in the game at the time.
As such, Sherk was a shining light on a Browns club that had finished just 3-11 in 1975 after having gone 4-10 the previous season.
One of the team’s two second-round picks in the 1970 NFL Draft, the Oklahoma State product had been starting since the opening game of his rookie season. He was enjoying what may have been his best year in 1979, having 12 sacks in just 10 games, when he suffered a staph infection in his knee on the artificial surface at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. The injury nearly cost him his life, and though he ended up being with the club through 1981, it also effectively ended his career.
It might have also cost Sherk a shot at getting inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One or two more Pro Bowl trips, giving him six, would have likely put him into consideration for such.
But Sherk still had a great career. The Cleveland Browns Legend is second on the team with 69 career sacks, and also with 547 career sack yards. He is one of three players sharing the club record of four sacks in a game (in 1976 against the Philadelphia Eagles).
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