CLEVELAND — Legendary Browns quarterback Otto Graham had already been immortalized in the memories of Browns fans old and young, but on Saturday he was immortalized with a long-awaited statue made in his likeness.
The team unveiled the statue on the southwest side of FirstEnergy Stadium during a ceremony in honor of Graham’s career and life.
Graham is considered by many to be one of the best quarterbacks in football history.
He was a member of the first Browns team in 1946 and played all 10 of his professional seasons in Cleveland. With Graham at quarterback, the Browns appeared in 10 straight title games and won four All-America Football Conference championships, as well as three NFL championships.
In his final game with the Browns, Graham—who had announced his retirement following the 1954 season but was convinced to return for one more year—threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in a 38-14 NFL Championship victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
Over his 10-year career, Graham threw for 23,584 yards with 174 passing touchdowns and 44 rushing touchdowns. Graham was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965, was a part of the inaugural class of Browns Legends in 2001 and was inducted into the Browns’ Ring of Honor in 2010.
Graham died in 2003 at the age of 83.
Browns' alumni—including Bernie Kosar—team personnel and executives, joined fans and 39 of Graham’s family members in the statue unveiling.
Graham's 95-year-old wife Beverly attended and spoke at the ceremony as well.
Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens reflected on the ceremony and how much it means to Cleveland at a press conference ahead of the statue unveiling.
"They laid the foundation," Kitchens said. "I feel like Cleveland is unique from the standpoint of the alumni and once you are a Brown, it is a little bit different being here in Cleveland than it has at other places I have been."
The statue will reside at FirstEnergy Stadium’s University Hospitals Gate where fans can take pictures and remember the life and career of one of the best to ever play the game.
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.