Eric Metcalf recalls 1989 NFL Draft, and how he ended up in Cleveland

Browns traded up to take Metcalf 13th overall
Updated: Apr. 19, 2021 at 3:09 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Eric Metcalf always knew he wanted to play in the NFL. Just like his dad, Terry, the former St. Louis Cardinals star.

“All my life I was talking about being a professional football player,” Metcalf told me during a zoom interview. “I was copying my dad’s signature as a kid, just because I was getting ready for it.”

He just didn’t know where. As the 1989 Draft approached, though, the University of Texas standout knew where he wanted to go.

Eric Metcalf
Eric Metcalf(Eric Metcalf)

“In my mind, I wanted it to be the Rams (who were still in Los Angeles at the time),” Metcalf said. “For some reason I wanted to be in the ‘Hollywood Lights’. I thought that would be it for me.”

Instead, he ended up in a city that’s the polar opposite of L.A.

“The Draft was going, and I heard ‘the Denver Broncos are trading the 13th pick to the Cleveland Browns’, and I literally looked at my mom and I said ‘I’m about to get drafted’, and she said ‘no you’re not’, and I said ‘yes, I am’,” Metcalf told me.

Despite what had happened a few days before the Draft.

“Mike Lombardi (the Browns pro personnel director) came down to Austin while I was still there and asked me to work out, and I would not work out,” Metcalf says. “I was like ‘no, I’m not doing it.”

He had done enough workouts for teams. And yet the Browns still took him, 13th overall. It would be a few days before he came to Cleveland, however.

“I actually flew back to Austin, went back to school for a couple of days and then flew back to Cleveland for the presser and all that,” Metcalf says.

He actually went back to class?

“Of course not!,” Metcalf said with a laugh. “I went to hang out and party with my teammates.”

And as for being in Cleveland, that took a little getting used to.

Eric Metcalf
Eric Metcalf(Eric Metcalf)

“When I first got there, especially in mini-camp in May, and it’s snowing, I didn’t think it was gonna work,” Metcalf says. “If it’s snowing in May, it’s definitely gonna snow in November and December, and we’re playing on natural grass, after playing on (artificial) turf my whole collegiate career. ‘I don’t think this is gonna work’. But once I got there, after holding out, and being with the guys, and being in the city, I’ve loved it ever since.”

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