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Cleveland Browns’ All-Time Passing Leaders (Yardage)

Updated on September 9, 2008

Brian Sipe

Otto Graham

Bernie Kosar


There should be an asterisk here, because after the 1995 season, owner Art Modell moved this storied franchise to Baltimore to become the Ravens. I lived in Cleveland at the time, and trust me, the city went nuts, all but forcing the NFL to grant Cleveland an expansion team. I distinctly remember going to the voting polls in 1995, and voting to pass legislation to build a new stadium. Anyway, that expansion team became the new Browns, which began play in 1999. The record books consider this to be one franchise, and rightly so. Here is a list of the Browns' all-time Top 10 in passing yards:

Brian Sipe (23,713)-Brian Sipe was not flashy. Rather, he was a Phil Simms type guy-an excellent field general who knew how to win. Sipe played in Cleveland (his only team) during some lean years too, from 1974 to 1983, but still posted a 57-55 record as a starter. Sipe leads the Browns all-time with 23,713 passing yards, and his best season was 1980, when he made the Pro Bowl by completing 337 of 554 passes for a career best 4132 yards, 30 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions.

Otto Graham (23,584)-Otto Graham, who played QB for the Browns from 1946-1955 (his only team as well), is also a player that is forever etched in Cleveland sports history. Graham ranks a close second in Browns' history with 23,584 passing yards. He had a career high 2816 yards through the air in 1952, but Graham's best season was 1947. That year, Graham threw for 2753 yards with 25 TD passes to just 11 interceptions.

Bernie Kosar (21,904)-Bernie Kosar is another player who was and still is beloved by Browns' fans. He was the quarterback during the ‘80's when the Browns made it to the AFC Championship twice only to lose to Denver. Kosar played in Cleveland from 1985 to 1993, and ranks third in team history with 21,904 yards passing. Kosar had a career best 3854 passing yards in 1986, but his best season was 1987, when he made the Pro Bowl with 3033 passing yards, with 22 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions.

Frank Ryan (13,361)-Frank Ryan played for Cleveland from 1962 to 1968, and ranks fourth in their history with 13,361 passing yards. Ryan made the Pro Bowl in 1966, his best season. That year, Ryan threw for a career high 2974 yards with 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Tim Couch (11,131)-Tim Couch was not exactly loved by Browns' fans, but he was the first QB on the expansion team and played for them from 1999 to 2003. Those were some horrible teams, but Couch wasn't exactly awesome either. He does, however, rank fifth in franchise history with 11,131 passing yards. Couch's best season was 2001, when, despite 21 interceptions, he threw for 3040 yards with 17 touchdowns.

Bill Nelsen (9725)-Bill Nelsen played on some great Browns teams from 1968 to 1972, posting a 34-16-1 record for them. Nelsen ranks sixth in team history with 9725 passing yards, and his best season in Cleveland was 1969. That year, Nelsen made the Pro Bowl by posting career highs in passing yards (2743) and TDs (23) with 19 interceptions.

Milt Plum (8914)-Milt Plum played for the Browns from 1957 to 1961, and ranks seventh in franchise history with 8914 passing yards. Plum threw for a career high 2416 yards in 1961, but his best season was 1960 when he racked up 2297 passing yards with 21 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. Plum did make the Pro Bowl in both of those seasons.

Mike Phipps (7700)-Mike Phipps was the Browns' QB from 1970 to 1976 and ranks eighth in team history with 7700 passing yards. Phipps had almost twice as many interceptions as he did TDs during his career (108 to 55), but he did pass for a career high 1994 yards with the Browns in 1972. That year, Phipps also had a career best 13 TD passes.

Vinny Testaverde (7255)-Vinny Testaverde was Bill Belichick's favorite son over Cleveland's favorite son, Bernie Kosar. But Belichick won out and played Vinny, who was with Cleveland from 1993 to 1995 and led the Belichick Browns to their only playoff berth in 1994. Testaverde ranks ninth in team history with 7255 passing yards, and his best year in Cleveland was 1995, when he threw for 2883 yards with 17 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions.

Paul McDonald (5269)-Paul McDonald played for the Browns from 1981 to 1984, and ranks tenth in team history with 5269 passing yards. Most of those came in 1984, the only season McDonald started every game in Cleveland. That season, McDonald threw for 3472 yards with 14 TDs despite 23 interceptions.


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