G. McConway
January 3, 2024

Former Browns QB Dead at 87

The Cleveland Browns have never won a Super Bowl, but they did notch four championships before the Super Bowl era started.

The last of those was in 1964, with Frank Ryan at QB, having one of the best years of his career.

Sadly, Ryan passed away on New Year’s Day at the age of 87.

He’s Gone

Ryan is a Texas native, playing his college ball at Rice University before moving on to the NFL.

Ryan was drafted in the 5th round, number 55 overall, in the 1958 NFL Draft.

He did not play much, during his years with the Rams, but he did have a highlight play, throwing a 96-yard TD catch by Ollie Matson, who would go on to be elected to the NFL Hall of Fame.

After that season, Ryan demanded to be traded, and the Rams granted him his wish, sending him over to the Cleveland Browns.

When starting QB Jim Ninowski broke his collarbone, Ryan moved up to the starting role and never looked back. He threw for more than 2,0000 yards and 25 TDs in 1963, setting high expectations for the following season… and he delivered.

The Browns won the final game of the season against the New York Giants in 1964, sending them to the title game against the Colts, where the Browns dominated the game, winning 27-0 on the strength of three passing TDs by Ryan.

Ryan had up and down years from that point, eventually retiring in 1970 from the Washington Redskins.

As it turns out, that late signing with the Redskins would lead to his next career, as Ryan was hired by the House of Representatives as the director of information services.

His claim to fame during that stint was helping to invent the first electronic voting system used in Congress.

Ryan’s family confirmed that he died of Alzheimer’s disease, and agreed to donate his brain to Boston University to be studied for CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which has run rampant in former NFL players who suffered concussions during their careers.

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