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Former Browns OL Joe DeLamielleure maintains consistency even in retirement


During the month of August in partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame will run a series of articles entitled "The 16 Cleveland Browns Gold Jackets". The series reflects back on the men who played for the Cleveland Browns and are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Visit the Pro Football HOF Saturday, August 29th to watch the preseason game vs Tampa Bay and meet Chomps, Swagger and former coach, Sam Rutigliano. Festivities start at 5pm and last throughout the game. Click here for more details.

In the 1970s, Joe DeLamielleure and his Buffalo Bills offensive line mates were dubbed the "Electric Company," because they "turned the Juice loose." The "Juice" of course was Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson. An All-America and three-time All-Big Ten performer at Michigan State, "Joe D" as he was known, was selected in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.

At first, when he failed his physical, it seemed he would never play pro football. Fortunately, further tests showed his irregular heartbeat was not serious, and Joe went on to win All-Rookie honors. It was the beginning of a string of career honors that few guards had or have since exceeded.

He went on to become the most honored lineman of the Bills respected front wall. Eight times during his career he was selected first- or second-team All-Pro; seven times he was named first- or second-team All-AFC, and six times he was named to the Pro Bowl. Since 1970, only two Hall of Fame guards, John Hannah with 10 and Gene Upshaw with seven, were named All-Pro more often. In 1975, the NFL Players Association named him Offensive Lineman of the Year. -

Extremely durable and dependable, DeLamielleure played in 185 consecutive games during his 13 playing seasons with the Bills and the Cleveland Browns. A starter from the first game of his rookie season, DeLamielleure played and started in every game for eight seasons in Buffalo before being traded to Cleveland in 1980. During five years in Cleveland, he played in every game and had only three non-starts.

DeLamielleure helped the offense carry the 1980 team to the franchise's first AFC Central championship in nine years and its first playoff berth overall in eight seasons. The leader of that club was quarterback Brian Sipe, who won the NFL MVP award after passing for a team-record 4,132 yards. As such, DeLamielleure became the first player in NFL history to block for a 2,000-yard rusher and a 4,000-yard passer. For his part in that, he was named All-NFL and a Pro Bowler that season for the sixth and final time in his career.

The former guard was Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003. Since then, he has used his Hall of Fame status as a platform to help others.

DeLamielleure always claimed his love for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame guard often stated that he will return each summer to join in the Enshrinement festivities even if he had to walk to Canton, Ohio. He did just that a few years ago when he walked from Buffalo to Hall's front steps. He raised awareness for the Grace's Lamp organization which helps young children afford the high cost of new adult prosthetic legs.

He also rode his bike from East Lansing, Mich. all the way to Mexico to help raise money for the Shinsky Orphanage in Mexico. The money helped with construction costs of the building and provide necessary resources to support the abandoned, abused and neglected children of that region.

DeLamielleure has been honored numerous times for his outstanding career by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Michigan State University, Bills and Browns.

The Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company honored the Hall of Fame guard as part of the Hometown Hall of Famer ™ program. The program honors the hometown roots of the sport's greatest players with special ceremonies and plaque dedication events in local communities.

DeLamielleure was inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. His plaque is displayed in the Clara Bell Smith Student- Athlete Academic Center.

He was also inducted into the Bills Wall of Fame and the Browns Ring of Honor. His name hangs high in both Ralph Wilson Stadium and FirstEnergy Stadium so he will forever be remembered for his contributions to the franchises.

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