If the bell named Blake Hanes doesn’t ring, you’re not alone. The guard was not a big name for coming out of college from Northwestern in 2019, with Buffalo Bill signing him that season, although he did not play a single photo. This trend continued into 2020, as he spent most of the year on the New York Jets practice team.
The Cleveland Browns signed him on January 2, a move that is barely registered on the league’s news feed. Nevertheless it ended up being an important key signing for the Brons.
With 9:47 left in the Browns’ AFC Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, backup guard Michael Dunn suffered an injury. Dunn was filling in for pro bowler Joel Bitonio, who was on the Reserve / COVID-19 list. With another Browns lineman, Chris Hubbard, who was already out due to a season-ending knee injury, Hans was suddenly thrust into action.
While playing on the NFL field for his first time, Hans definitely responded. The Browns led 42–29, taking a 28-point lead with Pittsburgh at 13 and speeding their side.
Hanes faced off against Cameron Hayward, who faced 58 career sacks with the Pro Bowler four times. In 14 snaps, Hans did not give a single sack while keeping his quarterback straight for the rest of the game. Brown scored on his next two possessions, eventually winning 48–37. It is the first time since 1994 that the team has won a playoff game.
Bleacher Report as NFL analyst Brent Sobalski noted, Hannes will earn $ 39,706 for his efforts. Which includes driving from New Jersey and not having a single practice with the team. In fact, he met the first Brewers quarterback Baker Mayfield in the locker room that evening. And he also did not meet head coach Kevin Stefanski, who is also quarantining under the COVID-19 protocol. Nevertheless Stephansky is already a fan and looks forward to the meeting.
On January 11, Hans also turned 25 today! What an impressive 24 hours.