Sunday Night Spotlight: Former Browns safety Thom Darden broke barriers in NFL career

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 1:19 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - For years, the Cleveland Browns have been on the receiving end of many jokes in the NFL. For the past 25 years, the team went through 12 different coaches and at least 30 different starting quarterbacks. Their last playoff win before this season was 1994.

The Browns ended that streak earlier this month with a 48-37 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

One person who was excited to see the victory was former Cleveland Browns All-Pro safety, Thom Darden, who resides in Cedar Rapids.

Darden played for the Browns from 1971-82. He still owns the franchise record for most career interceptions with 45.

“There were places where African-Americans weren’t allowed to play,” Darden said. “Blacks didn’t play that position. By the time I came into the league, you had Willie Wood over in Green Bay and a couple of others, and I got a chance to play that position, which I knew at that time because I was a fan of the NFL, that there weren’t too many African-Americans that played that position. And because of that, I felt somewhat of an obligation to do the best I possibly could do.”

Darden made the playoffs twice in his career, but never won a playoff game. The Browns season ended the following week against the Kansas City Chiefs, but Darden is excited about the future of the franchise.

“If they don’t do it within the next two to three years, you’ll see another rebuilding situation,” Darden said. “So I’m pretty comfortable that I might be packing my bags to go somewhere warm in January, if not next year, the following year to watch them play.”

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