Browns' Hall of Fame lineman Hickerson dies
by Tony Grossi
Monday October 20, 2008, 7:14 PM
Election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 was a bittersweet honor for Browns guard Gene Hickerson, and not because it was long overdue.
Shortly after learning of his election in February 2007, Hickerson was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia and confined to a nursing home.
As his health rapidly declined, family and friends worried that Hickerson might not be able to enjoy finally reaching the pinnacle of his career as the sweeping blocker for Hall of Fame backs Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell and Leroy Kelly.
But he did.
In August, as Brown, Mitchell and Kelly dramatically pushed Hickerson in his wheelchair on stage at the induction ceremony in Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Hickerson's eyes caught those of his former teammate, Bobby Franklin. Hickerson then made a gesture with his fingers that Franklin recognized as a personal joke of the two longtime friends.
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