A Profile of Paul Warfield
Many young NFL fans may not remember Paul Warfield, but he’s certainly a player to know in Cleveland Browns history.
While Paul Warfield is not, statistically, the best receiver in Cleveland Browns’ history, his electrifying performances, and athletic catches are still fondly remembered by older fans today.
Examining his history and statistics showcase a player who more than earned his place in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Throughout his career, Warfield cemented himself among the Brown’s all-time greats.
Let’s take a look at the early career of Paul Warfield and the impact he made in Cleveland Brown’s history.
Paul Warfield was born in Warren, Ohio, and played for the Ohio State Buckeyes in college.
His football career started as a running back, but he was also a high-quality track star.
During high school, he set records in the 100-yard dash, 180-yard hurdles, and the broad jump.
As a jumper with a personal best of 26 feet and 2 inches, he was scouted by the U.S. Olympic Team scouted before he signed with the Browns.
Time With the Browns
While Art Modell – in his “ahem” infallible wisdom – wanted Warfield to play defensive back, he was so good as a receiver that he was quickly converted to the role.
During his first year, he caught 52 passes for 920 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 17.8 yards and getting comparisons to Jim Brown and the way that his speed complimented the rusher’s raw power and strength.
“Old Days”the Cleveland Browns ,Great Wide Reciever,Paul Warfield pulls in a pass against the NY Giants in a 1964 Game at Yankee Stadium.#NFL #Browns #Giants #Cleveland #NYG #1960s pic.twitter.com/2vyJY9HZLm
— Tom’s Old Days (@sigg20) July 18, 2018
The two helped the Browns win their last championship that year.
Though he missed most of 1965 due to an injured collarbone, he started 1966 strongly and caught 36 passes for 741 yards.
He then grabbed a further 32 in 1967 for another 702 yards and eight touchdowns.
The next year, Warfield’s 50 catches and 12 touchdowns led the league and helped the Browns get to the NFL Championship game again, though they lost 34-0 against the Baltimore Colts.
Winning Pro Bowl nods that year, and the next, Modell shocked the team and Warfield by trading him to the Dolphins.
This event is another in a long line of Modell decisions that Cleveland fans hated.
Trading Warfield netted the team the third pick in the next year’s draft, as Modell wanted Purdue’s quarterback Mike Phipps and got him with this pick.
Phipps was a bust, though, and Warfield was still in the prime of his career, helping the Dolphins win Super Bowl VII in 1973 and Super Bowl VII the next year.
Warfield, Larry Csonka, and Jim Kiick of the Dolphins then surprised everyone by playing for one year with the Memphis Southmen (previously the Toronto Northmen) of the World Football League.
This move lasted one year, after which the WFL dissolved.
Warfield, who loved the Browns, rejoined the team and played two seasons to end his career.
Honors and Statistics
During his career, Warfield put up impressive numbers and was known as a big-play threat – his 20.1 average for receptions is the highest in NFL history among receivers with more than 300 catches.
As a result, he made three Pro Bowl appearances with the Browns and five with the Miami Dolphins.
He also played in seven championship games, winning one NFL championship with Cleveland and two Super Bowls with the Dolphins.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 31, 2016
As a result of these statistics – and his time as an adviser and scout for the Browns – he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1983.
Warfield also earned a place in both the Browns’ and Dolphin’s Hall of Fame, one of only a handful of players to receive such honors for more than one team.
Happy Birthday to HOF WR Paul Warfield! Played 13 seasons with the @Browns & @MiamiDolphins. Selected to 8 Pro Bowls and the @NFL 1970s All-Decade Team. Member of the 1964 NFL Championship Browns team and 2x Super Bowl Champion with the Dolphins (VII, VIII). pic.twitter.com/oXP97Hd1ed
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) November 28, 2017
Even now, Warfield is still considered one of the best receivers of all time.
During a career that lasted from 1964 to 1977, Paul Warfield played in 157 games, starting in all but five.
He caught 427 passes for 8,565 yards. He averaged double-digits per catch in every season he played, with his top year being 1970 with an average of 25.1.
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) September 3, 2017
His best receiving year was 1968, though, during which he caught 50 passes for 1,067 yards and 12 touchdowns: the latter another personal best.
As for scoring, he scored a total of 85 touchdowns.
His rushing numbers were minimal: on 22 rushes, he netted 204 yards for an average of 9.3 yards per rush and scored no touchdowns on the ground.
But for the first seven years of his career, he never gave up a fumble.
In 1971, he gave up his first ever for a total of three that year.
He then gave up one each the next year before another three in his penultimate season with Cleveland.
A majority of these stats were earned while with Cleveland, with whom he played 97 games.
For example, 5,210 of his yards came with the team, as did 52 of his touchdowns.
However, he had great years for the championship Dolphins, catching 996 yards in 1971 for the team and scoring 11 touchdowns with an 86-yard season-and-career-best catch that year.