Greg Pruitt wasn’t a first-round draft pick.
He just played like one.
Pruitt, a running back from Oklahoma, was the first of the Browns’ two second-round choices in the NFL Draft on Jan. 30, 1973. Picked at No, 30 overall, he was actually the third player the Browns selected that year. They had two first-rounders.
But when it came to production on the field, Pruitt was almost immediately ahead of the pack that year. He is still viewed not only as one of the best runners, receivers and returners in club history, but also as one of the most exciting the Browns have ever had. His speed, quickness and ability to stop on a dime and change direction made him a nightmare for the opposition.
Pruitt, who played with the Browns from 1973-81 before being traded to the Los Angeles Raiders, is their fourth-leading career rusher with 5,496 yards after having gained 1,000 yards in each of three straight seasons (1975-77). His 4.7-yards-per-carry average is also fourth, and his 25 rushing touchdowns rank him seventh.
His 323 career receptions are third-best on the Browns. His 42-yard catch-and-run late in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 25, 1973 at Cleveland Stadium, on which he deftly eluded defender after defender en route to setting up the winning touchdown (which he scored), is one of the most electrifying plays in team history. That was the breakout play of his career, keying a 21-16 victory.
Pruitt is first in Browns history with a punt return average of 11.8 yards.
And he’s third in combined yards -- rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns -- with 10,700.
It doesn’t get much better than that – even for a first-round draft choice. For a second-round pick, it’s more special yet, and why Pruitt is a Cleveland Browns Legend.
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