On Sunday afternoon, rookie second-round pick DeShone Kizer became the Browns' 27th starting quarterback since returning to Cleveland in 1999. The team had previously -- and unsuccessfully -- used first-rounders on the likes of Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel.
But in 2004, the Browns could've ended the run of futility and saved themselves and their embittered fan base 14 more seasons of misery. All they had to do was draft Ohio native Ben Roethlisberger with the sixth-overall pick. Instead, then-coach (and former University of Miami coach) Butch Davis went with tight end Kellen Winslow, who two games into his rookie season broke his leg in a motorcycle accident. And three years after that, was out of Cleveland altogether.
Roethlisberger, meanwhile, has two Super Bowl rings and remains one of the league's best passers.
We mention this because Roethlisberger and the Steelers eked out a 21-18 Week 1 win at FirstEnergy Stadium, which now means Roethlisberger -- who, we reiterate, plays for the Steelers -- now has more wins in Cleveland than any Browns quarterback since the team returned to the NFL in 1999.
Roethlisberger is now 22-2 against the Browns all time, and 11-2 when playing in Cleveland. Derek Anderson, who played for the Browns from 2005-09 and was the last quarterback to lead the team to a winning record (10-6 in 2007) trails Big Ben with 10 wins in Cleveland.
And it sounds like Big Ben's motivation, in part, comes from the fact that the Browns passed on him more than 13 years ago. This tweet, prior to the Steelers-Browns matchup last November, remains evergreen.
#Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger recalls his private workout for #Browns before being drafted: "I thought I did really good, but I guess not"— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) November 16, 2016
"Two quarterbacks had already been picked (Philip Rivers and Eli Manning), so as a competitor, I felt underestimated," Big Ben told ESPN.com at the time. "When Cleveland passed on me, technically my hometown team, that was it. I couldn't wait to have a team and play the Browns at some point. Funny how it works out I'd go to Pittsburgh and play them twice a year."
Roethlisberger finished 24 of 36 for 263 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against the Browns on Sunday. The future Hall of Famer also set another record:
#Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has surpassed Fran Tarkenton (47,003) for the ninth-most passing yards in NFL history, now with 47,015.— Dom Rinelli (@drinelli) September 10, 2017
But who knows, maybe Kizer will finally be the franchise quarterback the Browns have been looking for.