Don Fleming

University of Florida Gators logo

Class of: 1963

Sport: NFL

Team: Cleveland Browns

School: UF

Don Fleming was a member of the University of Florida football team from 1956-1958. During that time, the team owned a record of 18-9-3. Don served as the team captain in 1958. Fleming became only the 11th Gator to be named to the All-SEC team multiple times.

Fleming was selected by the Chicago Cardinals in the 28th round of the 1959 NFL Draft. He did not see any action that year and successfully urged Chicago to trade him to the Browns before the 1960 season. Over the following three seasons, Fleming played regularly at safety and intercepted 10 passes. He made The Sporting News All-NFL team in 1962.

At the time, many NFL players had to take off-season jobs to supplement their income from football. Fleming and 2 co-workers were working on a construction job for a bank in Winter Park, FL, when some electrical wires in their hole got loose by a leaky pipe and all three were electrocuted. His death came only a few weeks after that of Ernie Davis, the overall No. 1 NFL draft pick in 1962, whom the Browns had acquired in a trade. The Browns retired both Davis’ uniform number 45 and Fleming’s 46 in memory of the players. Fleming Field at Shadyside High School, his alma mater, is named in his memory. When the Browns practiced at Case Western Reserve University, the field they used also carried Fleming’s name.