Len Ford

  • 4 × Pro Bowl selection ( 1951-1954 )
  • 7 × All-Pro selection ( 1951-1957 ) 1 2 team
  • NFL 1950s All- Decade Team
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (1976 )
  • 3x NFL Championship winner (1950, 1954, 1955)
  • University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor ( 1996)

Leonard " Len " Guy Ford, Jr. ( born February 18, 1926 in Washington, DC, USA, † March 14, 1972 ) was an American Football player. He has played as a defensive end for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL.


Ford grew up in his native town, where he attended Armstrong High School. At school he played alongside American football and basketball, and baseball. In all three teams he was team captain and brought it into the local school selection.

Playing career


Ford was an outstanding baseball player. As a black player but he had no way of Major League Baseball to play. The League at that time was open only white players. The best way to professional sports to earn money later, first offered him a college degree. He graduated in 1944, first of Morgan State University, where he played basketball in the spring. In the fall of that year he managed the football team to join. After a brief period of service with the U.S. Navy, he went back to college and studied from now at the University of Michigan. With this commitment, he hoped to use in a Bowl game, which should enable him to national attention and a foothold in the professional sports. In 1948 he made ​​then for the first time nationwide attention. His team, the Michigan Wolverines moved into the Rose Bowl. There, the crew of the University of Southern California with 49:0 could be beaten. Ford was elected to the All American. His college drew him because of his athletic achievements of three times. One professional career of Ford, nothing stood in the way.


The coach of the Los Angeles Dons, Jimmy Phelan Ford was noticed due to his size, speed and scope of his safe hands. He managed the Dons players for their AAFC team to undertake. Ford came in both the Defense as a defensive end, and on offense as an end to the use, in which he scored 67 pass catches during his career in Los Angeles.

1949 had to suspend their gaming operations and Ford was welcomed into a draft pool of the NFL, which had been set up for former players of the AAFC league. Ford was hired by the Cleveland Browns, who committed him primarily because of his aggressive style of play and were replaced in 1950 by the AAFC into the NFL. Back in training camp before his first NFL season Ford was able to convince. Ford was inducted into the defensive line, but suffered several severe facial injuries in a tackle by fullback Pat Harder, which had to be surgically corrected in October 1950 in a game against the Chicago Cardinals. That same season, he returned to the playing field and moved with his Browns for the first time in the NFL Championship Game, where the Los Angeles Rams were beaten with 30:28. Undeterred by his facial injuries succeeded Ford always the quarterbacks the Rams to put them under pressure and force them to rash decisions. 28 seconds left in the game Lou Groza was able to achieve the decisive field goal for the Browns.

1954 moved the team from Cleveland again in the final. The Browns defeated the Detroit Lions with 56:10. Ford made this an outstanding game, intercepted two passes ( interception ) of quarterback Bobby Layne and carried one of them to a room gain of 45 yards in the direction of the Lions end zone. 1955 had to be in the NFL playoff again, the Rams defeated the Browns with 38:14. After a game year in the Green Bay Packers Ford finished his career in 1958.

During the career of Ford in Cleveland the Browns presented the most successful defenses in the NFL. In six years, they left to the fewest points in two years, they were at this statistic at the second location.


Ford played four times in the Pro Bowl, the final game of the best players of the season. He was also appointed seven All-Pro and is a member of the NFL 1950s All- Decade Team, in the Hall of Honor of his colleges, and since 1976 in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ford is ranked on the list of top 100 players of the Cleveland Browns ranked 12th

After the career

Ford died of heart failure. He is buried at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Suitland, Maryland.