Mike Pruitt

Induction Year: 2003 Sport: Football

He was a general manager’s dream come true—a first round draft pick who proved to be worthy of the choice. A big, strong running back who plowed through Big Ten defenses with relative ease at Purdue, the Browns tabbed him with their opening pick in the 1976 draft and roundly enjoyed the presence of his company for nine solid season thereafter. The power he displayed in the college ranks continued to evidence itself in the pro game. Four times in five seasons beginning in 1978, he bulled his way to more than 1000 rushing yards, the string only interrupted in 1982, when injuries limited him to nine games. He was a Pro Bowler in 1979 and 1980, an all-AFC selection in 1979 and was picked as the Browns’ Offensive Player of the Year in 1980 and 1981 His 6,450 yards rushing were the third most ever compiled by a Brown, exceeded only by the numbers of Hall-of-Fame’ers Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly. Supplemented by the totals he built in his final two seasons, spilt between Buffalo and Kansas City in 1985 and 1986, his career totals rank him 26th in total rushes, 32nd in rushing and tied for 39th in rushing touchdowns on the NFL’s all-time leaders’ list. Electing to remain in Cleveland after his playing days, he now lives in Strongsville and is the owner of two auto dealerships, Mike Pruitt Honda, located in Akron, and Mike Pruitt’s Superstore in Lima, OH.