A former Cleveland Browns player was in the Don Drumm Stadium press box Saturday for the Marietta College/Baldwin-Wallace football game.
Jamie Caleb is his name, and he was accompanied by his wife Wally and their good friend Barry Taylor, the event coordinator of the River Rats Browns Backers in Marietta.
"I'm stuck with Barry Taylor," smiled the 74-year-old Caleb when asked what brought him to Marietta. "He invited me over here, so we came."
Actually, Caleb is no stranger to Marietta and Washington County. He's been here before to golf in outings hosted by the River Rats Browns Backers.
Now, if the name Caleb doesn't ring any bells with younger fans, that's understandable. He after all played for the Browns way back in 1960 and then again in 1965, the year after Cleveland defeated the Baltimore Colts to claim the National Football League championship.
In between, Caleb spent one year (1961) with the Minnesota Vikings in their inaugural season as an NFL franchise.
"I remember it got so cold there in Minnesota sometimes that I took everything I could out of the team room to wear to go to work," said Caleb, laughing.
Backing up a little bit, Caleb played his college football at Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he's originally from. Drafted by the Browns, he was a 6-foot-1, 210-pound rookie fullback in 1960.
Needless to say, Caleb didn't see a whole lot of playing time at the position, because the Browns had a guy there by the name of Jim Brown, arguably the greatest football player ever.
"We were good friends, and he was great," Caleb said. "He could go inside or he could go outside. He could run over you or around you. He could do whatever he wanted to do."
Still, even as Jim Brown's backup, Caleb did get playing time, mostly on the special teams. But once, on Oct. 16, 1960, or almost two weeks from his 25th birthday (Oct. 29), Caleb saw action in the backfield in the Cotton Bowl when Cleveland played and routed the first-year Dallas Cowboys, 48-7.
In the fourth quarter of the contest, Caleb ran five yards for a touchdown, his only score as NFL player.
After his stint as a Vikings player in 1961, Caleb became an educator, teaching health and physical education and swimming for several years. His wife also taught English and was later a principal.
But in 1965, Caleb still had the itch to play pro football, and was invited by then-Browns head coach Blanton Collier to join the team.
"He said that I looked like I could still play football, so he gave me a contract," recalled Caleb. "You know, just being a part of the NFL was a great thrill."
Caleb was also on the Browns team that played and lost to the Green Bay Packers in the 1965 NFL title game.
During Caleb's football-playing days, he played for some truly legendary coaches, like Eddie Robinson at Grambling, Paul Brown and Collier of the Browns, and Norm Van Brocklin of the Vikings.
"Paul Brown didn't yell or shout," Caleb said. "He could just look at you. You didn't mess around with him."
Currently, Caleb - who is retired - and his wife Wally reside in the Cleveland area. They've been married for 57 years and have three daughters, six grand-children and five great grand-children.
On Sunday, Caleb and Taylor attended the Cleveland Browns-Tennessee Titans game. The Browns dropped a 31-13 decision.
"My wife gave up her ticket, to give to Barry," Caleb said.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org