News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Meaden & Moore

Greater Akron Chamber


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us


The "other guy" on Browns '64 championship team gets moment to shine
This weekend, the Browns will induct the lesser-known Ernie Green into its shrine of legends. Raised in the south during segregation, Green got a bus ticket that eventually led to Cleveland.
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
In a deeply divided south, Georgia-native Ernie Green got a bus ticket to college in Louisville that eventually led to a championship with the Browns in 1964.
Courtesy of Plain Dealer
Download (WKSU Only)

This weekend, while the Cleveland Browns try to win their first game of the season with a batch of rookies, the team will honor one of the greats from the 1964 championship team. But, you've probably never heard of him. Running back Ernie Green will be inducted as a "Browns Legend." He was always known as "the other guy" behind Hall of Famer running backs Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly. 

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about Ernie Green's career that has been a series of obstacles from a color barrier to breast cancer.

Terry Pluto commentary on Ernie Green

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:35)


Terry Pluto on the Browns vs. Bills

Other options:
MP3 Download (3:52)


Terry Pluto on NFL replacement refs controversy

Other options:
MP3 Download (4:09)


A lesser-known legend 
Ernie Green's name doesn't come up much when Cleveland fans reminisce about the Browns' 1964 championship team. 

That's because Hall of Famers Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly and Paul Warfield were the stars of the team. Ernie Green was always known as "the other" running back behind Brown and Kelly. Yet, his lanky body and speed made him a valuable asset in scoring touchdowns because opponents never suspected he would get the ball when the team was close to the goal line.

Aside from Green's acheivements on that historic team, his journey to the Browns is perhaps more extraordinary.

A divided south and a life-changing bus ticket
He grew up in Columbus, Georgia in the 1940's. He got an opportunity to play football at Louisville, which just broke the color barrier.

"He expected kind of the first class treatment," Pluto said. "They sent him a bus ticket; gets to Lousiville, gets off the bus - nobody there. So, he grabs a phone book to see if the coaches name is in there...It became kind of a metaphor for his whole career. I mean, here you are, you're bucking the odds all the way along. You get there, there's nobody there waiting for you, you're never really treated real special."

Green was a 14th round pick by the Green Bay Packers and traded to the Browns for "a sack of footballs," Pluto said tongue-in-check.

He started in the backfield first next to Jim Brown and then Leroy Kelly from 1962-1968.

Little changed back home after Browns championship
Pluto said life wasn't easy for Green, even after he won the 1964 championship. 

"He's driving back home, back to Columbus, Georgia. He stops somewhere in the deep shouth, couldn't remember the state. Walks into this cafe - two days off the championship game - nobody will serve him. And he said he suddenly realized that he may be up in Cleveland on a championship team and the game was on tv, or whatever, but down here, he goes, 'I'm just another black person who didn't count.'"

"What I appreciated from Ernie is obviously, there's all these hurts. And it never really made him bitter," Pluto said. 

Business owner and breast cancer survivor
Green now owns Ernie Green Industries in Dayton, which sells parts for the automotive industry. In 2005, he was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has become an advocate for early detection and treatment. "Think of a former NFL guy, talking about that, is not easy for him, but he went and made several spots and kind of became a spokesman."

Terry Pluto is on the committee that nominates and votes players to the Browns "Legends" club. Green will be honored during halftime of the Browns vs. Bills game on Sunday.
Listener Comments:

I met Mr. Green thru R.C. Owens and he helped me with fund raisers for the Big Sisters Org. He was an enormous help. I'll always remember his kindness. It is wonderful to see that he was not forgotten....


Posted by: Sandee Frost (San Jose, Ca.) on September 20, 2012 10:09AM
For years our Sunday afternoon entertainment on the farm in Shelby County, Ohio was a dish pan full of popcorn and the cleveland Browns on TV. While many didn't remember no # 48, years later when meeting Mr. Green I remembered that player from that time. I am glad to see the Browns recognize the player that made Jim Brown and Leroy Kelley great! Good Job Browns and a class job Mr. Green.


Posted by: Darrel W Hollenbacher (Troy, Ohio) on September 19, 2012 11:09AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio to appeal ruling keeping Akron's red light cameras in place
I don't understand what all the fuss is about. If you don't like tickets drive the speed limit and stop at red lights. It's really all up to you.

Who's on public assistance in Ohio?
legalize marijuana get over it,,, its here its been the main drug test scare of a lifetime. u got people that get drunk every night and work u got peoples on ...

Letters from a lost friend: A Beachwood survivor's Holocaust remembrance
What a great story -- and how important it was for both Marlene and her mother to tell it! Thank you.

Ohio lawmaker calls for an East Cleveland bailout
Instead of blaming Kasich and the Republicans for all of East Cleveland's fiscal woes, take a look at the facts. Some political entities in Ohio are too small ...

Legalized marijuana is a boon for a Cleveland-area grow light maker
Shouldn't he be in jail for paraphernalia? He knows he is selling for marijuana production.

Akron city council to vote on resolution for hiring ex-offenders
Great as a taxpayer I paid for the police to catch them, the free lawyer, the jail to house them , the food their kids eat the medical for them and all its goin...

5 of 8 rule headed for a vote
this is just another way for kasich to pass the buck and claim that it gives the local districts control. Few schools have enough money because of his cuts. T...

A passionate debate about parole in Ohio
I was heartened to hear that the legislators will consider ANY legislation to break the chains the parole board has put on these old law offenders who have serv...

Bill would allow Ohio religious leaders to refuse to do gay marriages
This is just a lot of political posturing. The free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment already protects clergy from being forced by civil authorities to perfo...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University