CLEVELAND – Like expectant parents, they gathered inside Cleveland Browns Stadium, fans old and young anxiously awaiting word from a delivery room some 450 miles away in midtown Manhattan.
The normal new parent anticipation of boy or girl replaced by the question of whether the suit-wearing stork known as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would deliver a receiver or running back, defensive end or offensive lineman.
Either way, this new addition would carry with him the hope of these orange and brown clad people who will flock to see him each Sunday, applaud his accomplishments and feel the pain of his setbacks.
At 8:20 p.m. the newest Brown arrived, Trent Richardson running back out of Alabama, weighing in at 224 pounds, 71 inches long.
“Outstanding pick, I think he’s a future hall of famer and great for the Browns,” said Warren Grugle, of Chagrin Falls, who watched the festivities along with his son, Charlie, who also applauded the pick.
“Not only will it sell tickets I think it will add an explosive element to the offense,” said Charlie.
But Jason Bretz, who drove up from Millersburg, to watch the draft at Browns Stadium isn’t so sure.
“Oh, I think he’ll be alright,” he said, with an enthusiasm level in the luke warm range. “I don’t know if he’s going to be as good as everybody thinks, but I think he’ll be alright.”
As the number three pick overall, Richardson marks the highest the Browns have ever selected a running back in the draft. The great Jim Brown was selected with the sixth overall pick.
Greg Cameron, of Cleveland Heights, had trouble remembering the last time he was this excited about a Browns offensive draft pick.
“I was pretty excited thinking they were going to take Julio Jones last year, but that didn’t happen,” he said referring to the wide receiver taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the Browns pick last year after a trade. “Probably if Kellen Winslow didn’t get hurt, I was pretty excited about that pick.,” he said.
Winslow was also a player the Browns traded up one slot to pick, but in that case the Browns gave up a high second-round pick to make the jump, compared to the three lower round picks the Browns gave to the Vikings on Thursday.
The Grugles though didn’t have a problem with that.
“Not at all,” said Warren, “I’d have been heart broken had they lost him by not trading up.”