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Throwback Thursday: Hanford Dixon thwarts Terry Bradshaw with 3 INTs

In just his second season in the NFL, legendary Browns defensive back Hanford Dixon was still trying to make a name for himself.

So Dixon — who would go on to become one of the most celebrated players in Cleveland history — did exactly that against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1982, intercepting then-quarterback and future Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw three times to lift the Browns to a crucial win.

"I was still a fairly young guy in the league. And when you come into the league, you think of a guy like Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. I mean those are pretty big names in the National Football League," Dixon said.

"We were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game we really needed to win and I picked off the first one and I was kind of excited about it, and then I picked off another one, and then I picked off a third one and I was like, 'wow, you've really arrived in the NFL, you've picked off Terry Bradshaw three times.' But most importantly, we got the win."

Indeed, the Browns edged the Steelers, 10-9, in a wet and muddy game. But the outing was also something of a breakout performance for Dixon, who was eventually selected to three Pro Bowls and named an All-Pro twice.

Dixon, who played all nine seasons for the Browns, amassed 26 interceptions over that span, including four picks in 1982 and five in 1984 and 1986.

Dixon also played a key role in forming Cleveland's "Dawg Pound," which remains a franchise fixture more than 30 years later.

"The whole dog thing came about, we were back in training camp, that was during the time we had training camp at Lakeland Community College. Being from down South, you know the whole dog chasing a cat, I told the defensive linemen, 'hey, we're gonna bark, you guys are the dogs and think of that quarterback as the cat and you guys just get it go and go get it,'" said Dixon, a native of Mobile, Alabama.

"And what happened was, at Lakeland Community College, the fans were so close to the field. And we started barking, and the fans started barking … it was just crazy, and it's still here today."

A look back at legendary DB Hanford DIxon through the years. (All photos by AP Images)

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