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Browns Sign All-America Halfback Ernie Davis

Dec. 21, 1961 - Arthur Modell, the board chairman of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, said Ernie Davis, the all-America halfback from Syracuse (pictured meeting President Kennedy earlier this month at the Hall of Fame Dinner in New York), had agreed to a 3-year contract with the Browns for $65,000 plus a $15,000 bonus. Davis was the first player taken in the NFL’s annual player draft Dec. 4. He was picked by the Washington Redskins. But the Browns previously (and secretly) had obtained rights to Davis by giving Washington a seasoned halfback, Bobby Mitchell, and a rookie halfback, Leroy Jackson, the Browns’ first draft choice. The Buffalo Bills of the American Football League and the Browns staged a furious financial battle to get Davis to play for them. The battle has been won by Cleveland.

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