Dante Lavelli, You Will Be Missed

There is not much that I can say that will do justice to Cleveland Browns legend Dante Lavelli.  By now, you have likely heard that Lavelli passed away late last night at the age of 85. 

Lavelli is widely considered one of the greatest receivers to ever wear the orange and brown.  He hauled in 386 passes for nearly 6,500 yards during his career – spanning both the AAFC and the NFL – placing him second to Ozzie Newsome in both categories. Lavelli’s 62 touchdown catches place him right behind Gary Collins.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975, and will forever be remembered with teammates like Otto Graham and Lou “The Toe” Groza. 

For more, I reccomend checking out Bob Dolgan’s report that is featured over at Cleveland.com.

  • Boomhauer

    Glue Fingers – The Anti-Braylon in some many ways, on and off the field.

  • Boomhauer

    so many ways

  • Harv 21

    Yeah, the anti-Braylon, but I had some interactions with Dante over the last 20 years and this guy had some serious swagger about him.

    Met him about 20 years ago when we were on opposite sides of a civil legal proceeding, he as a litigant and me as legal counsel for another party. What I first noticed was what incredible physical shape he was in, even as a guy in his mid-60’s. Small waist, broad shoulders, HUGE gnarly hands. I’ve never seen an elderly guy cut like that. What I noticed next was that I think he wanted to kill me, or at least hurt me. Looked ready to spring across the conference room table, before anyone said anything. Guy was seriously competitive and liked to be the intimidator, even at that age.

    Came across him again in just the last few years, again in a business context, and he still had that swagger even as his mind was faltering. He was a lot nicer, but he knew he was a star.

    Can’t believe Dante ever “alligator-armed” a pass thrown in his direction.

  • mj

    A Cleveland legend. I believe there are only two men remaining from the Browns debut that are still with us now?

    I remain hopeful that someday soon the new Browns will do their legacy justice.

    @Harv21 – thanks for sharing your experience with him. I enjoyed reading that.

  • RandyOSU

    Gluefingers, rest in peace. Your legacy in Cleveland is well earned and well preserved.

    Harv21-likewise, I enjoyed your post.

  • Windy City Wahoo

    Will there be a WFNY pilgramage to Dante Lavelli Field in Hudson to pay our respects?

  • wendigo

    the pride of my home city and alma mater. rip.

  • http://shaneandtall.wordpress.com Bryan

    I met him as a kid growing up in Hudson and being around the football team. He was always very nice and would speak to the team off the cuff if asked.

    If you are ever in Hudson stop by Merino’s Beverage and ask the proprieter about Dante Lavelli. He was classmates and close friends with the man and has some good photos and stories to tell.

  • bridgecrosser

    I was a college student working on a very large journalism piece about the early Browns… Mr. Lavelli couldn’t have been a more genuine and accomadating individual. We spoke for about roughly an hour and I will never forget this as long as I live. What an amazing experience.

    I only spoke to him that once but his generosity, candor and warmth to a young man he had no reason to speak to, taught me what it means to be a gentleman. He will be missed.

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