Sports & Recreation

Best Silencing of Critics 

Dennis Northcutt

Prior to the 2002 season, receiver Dennis Northcutt came to embody the reborn Browns' stumbles. His first two seasons under an orange helmet were terrifically unproductive, as he failed to bend a blade of end-zone grass. Of all the Browns' poor-to-middling high draft picks (he went 32nd overall), Northcutt looked like the summa cum laude of busts. There was even talk that he might not make the squad in 2002.

Well, he made the team and, by season's end, had disbelievers running out for No. 86 jerseys. His breakthrough performance was the thriller at Tennessee, where he returned a punt for a score and caught the game-tying touchdown. Northcutt finished the Browns' playoff season with eight TDs -- and led all teammates in post-game panache. After the Titans game, he met reporters wearing a teal-and-gray suit, hat, and alligator shoes.

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