1999 Cleveland Browns season

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1999 Cleveland Browns season
Head coachChris Palmer
General managerDwight Clark
OwnerAl Lerner
Home fieldCleveland Browns Stadium
Local radioWTAM · WMJI
Division place6th AFC Central
Playoff finishdid not qualify

The 1999 Cleveland Browns season was the Browns 51st season overall and 47th in the NFL. It marked the return of professional football to the city of Cleveland, Ohio for the first time since the 1995 season, when the franchise was temporarily deactivated following the Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, which ultimately established the Baltimore Ravens. Officially, the Browns are considered a continuation of the previous franchise, as the history and colors of the team remained in Cleveland. The franchise was still alive as a legal entity between 1996–1998 and its assets kept in a trust managed by the NFL until Al Lerner became the owner in 1998. The Browns, however, in 1999 were treated as a new franchise by having an expansion draft and receiving the number one overall draft pick.

Season information[edit]

During the course of the 1995 season, then-Browns owner Art Modell announced his decision to move the Browns to Baltimore. Modell's new team would begin playing in the 1996 season. It would be the first time since 1935 that Cleveland would be left without an existing football team and the first time since 1943 without a team playing, when the Cleveland Rams suspended operation for one year, so the other teams could have enough players during World War II.

However, many Browns fans and Cleveland city officials were determined to keep the team in Cleveland, and orchestrated a grassroots movement to keep the team in Cleveland. The NFL responded by working with city officials, and the two parties came to a unique agreement which would provide the city with a brand-new, state-of-the-art stadium and would promise the return of professional football to Cleveland by the beginning of the 1999 season. Modell also agreed to relinquish the Browns' name, colors and team history to the new owner of the Browns. Modell's new team would begin playing in the 1996 season as the Baltimore Ravens.

While the Browns' new stadium was being built on the site of the old Cleveland Stadium, the foundation of the front office was being set in place. Al Lerner won a bidding war for the new team for $750 million. Lerner hired former San Francisco 49ers front office staffers Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark as the Browns' president and vice president.

Football finally returned to Cleveland on September 12 when the Browns opened the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home; Cleveland native Drew Carey was present and gave a rousing pre-game speech. However, the fans were sorely disappointed as the Browns were defeated by the Steelers 43–0. The team would go on to lose their first seven games, but finally in week 8 of their inaugural season the "New Browns" got their first ever win over the New Orleans Saints. From the Browns' 42-yard line Tim Couch squared up and threw a Hail Mary pass that was tipped in the endzone by Saints defenders but then caught by the Browns' Kevin Johnson. The dramatic game-winning touchdown play happened in the last two seconds of the game, causing the final score to be 21–16. Two weeks later, the Browns defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh, 16–15, for their second and final win of the year.

The Browns finished the season 2–14—sixth in the AFC Central. It was, at the time, the worst record that the Browns had ever compiled at the end of a season. Since then, the 2016 and 2017 Browns finished with worse records). The Browns did not win a home game throughout the season.


1999 NFL Draft[edit]

Draft order Player name Position College
Round Pick
1 1 Tim Couch Quarterback Kentucky
2 32 Kevin Johnson Wide receiver Syracuse
45 Rahim Abdullah Linebacker Clemson
3 62 Daylon McCutcheon Cornerback USC
78 Marquis Smith Defensive back California
4 124 Wali Rainer Linebacker Virginia
5 148 Darrin Chiaverini Wide Receiver Colorado
6 174 Marcus Spriggs Defensive tackle Troy State
187 Kendall Ogle Linebacker Maryland
191 James Dearth Tight end Tarleton State
7 207 Madre Hill Running back Arkansas

Expansion Draft[edit]

Players selected from other teams in the Cleveland Expansion Draft, in order of selection.[1]

1. C Jim Pyne, Detroit
2. DE Hurvin McCormack, Dallas
3. T Scott Rehberg, New England
4. WR Damon Gibson, Cincinnati
5. C Steve Gordon, San Francisco
6. LB Tarek Saleh, Carolina
7. G Jeff Buckey, Miami
8. LS Jason Kyle, Seattle
9. DE Rod Manuel, Pittsburgh
10. LB Lenoy Jones, Tennessee
11. CB Tim McTyer, Philadelphia
12. LB Elijah Alexander, Indianapolis
13. T Pete Swanson, Kansas City
14. S Gerome Williams, San Diego
15. S Marlon Forbes, Chicago
16. WR Justin Armour, Denver
17. T Paul Wiggins, Washington
18. S Duane Butler, Minnesota
19. WR Fred Brock, Arizona
20. CB Kory Blackwell, N.Y. Giants
21. CB Kevin Devine, Jacksonville
22. CB Ray Jackson, Buffalo
23. G Jim Bundren, N.Y. Jets
24. G Ben Cavil, Baltimore
25. RB Michael Blair, Green Bay
26. DT Antonio Anderson, Dallas
27. G Orlando Bobo, Minnesota
28. LB James Williams, San Francisco
29. QB Scott Milanovich, Tampa Bay
30. S Eric Stokes, Seattle
31. RB Ronald Moore, Miami
32. RB Clarence Williams, Buffalo
33. WR Freddie Solomon, Philadelphia
34. S Brandon Sanders, N.Y. Giants
35. DT Mike Thompson, Cincinnati
36. RB Jerris McPhail, Detroit
37. CB Antonio Langham, San Francisco



1999 Cleveland Browns staff
Front office
  • Owner and Chairman – Alfred Lerner
  • President and Chief Executive Officer – Carmen Policy
  • Executive Vice President/Director of Football Operations – Dwight Clark
  • Executive Director of Player Personnel – Joe Collins
  • Director of College Personnel – Phil Neri
  • Director of Pro Personnel – Keith Kidd

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength – Tim Jorgensen
  • Assistant Strength – Aril Smith

Final roster[edit]

1999 Cleveland Browns final roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics
60 Active, 3 Inactive, 1 Practice squad


Hall of Fame Game[edit]

  • Cleveland Browns 20, Dallas Cowboys 17 (Overtime)[2]

Regular season[edit]


Week Date Opponent Result TV Time (ET) Attendance
1 September 12 Pittsburgh Steelers L 43–0 ESPN 8:26pm
2 September 19 at Tennessee Titans L 26–9 CBS 4:15pm
3 September 26 at Baltimore Ravens L 17–10 CBS 1:00pm
4 October 3 New England Patriots L 19–7 CBS 1:00pm
5 October 10 Cincinnati Bengals L 18–17 CBS 1:00pm
6 October 17 at Jacksonville Jaguars L 24–7 CBS 1:00pm
7 October 24 at St. Louis Rams L 34–3 CBS 1:00pm
8 October 31 at New Orleans Saints W 21–16 CBS 1:00pm
9 November 7 Baltimore Ravens L 41–9 CBS 1:00pm
10 November 14 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 16–15 CBS 1:00pm
11 November 21 Carolina Panthers L 31–17 FOX 1:00pm
12 November 28 Tennessee Titans L 33–21 CBS 1:00pm
13 December 5 at San Diego Chargers L 23–10 CBS 4:15pm
14 December 12 at Cincinnati Bengals L 44–28 CBS 1:00pm
15 December 19 Jacksonville Jaguars L 24–14 CBS 1:00pm
16 December 26 Indianapolis Colts L 29–28 CBS 1:00pm
17 Bye


AFC Central
(1) Jacksonville Jaguars 14 2 0 .875 396 217 W1
(4) Tennessee Titans 13 3 0 .813 392 324 W4
Baltimore Ravens 8 8 0 .500 324 277 L1
Pittsburgh Steelers 6 10 0 .375 317 320 L1
Cincinnati Bengals 4 12 0 .250 283 460 L2
Cleveland Browns 2 14 0 .125 217 437 L6



  1. ^ 1999 Cleveland Expansion Draft
  2. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 978-0-7611-2480-1, p. 369
  3. ^ NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 978-0-7611-2480-1