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Ex-Lions QB on going 0-16: 'I don't wish that on anybody'

BEREA, Ohio -- Quarterback Drew Stanton knows what it means to go through a winless season.

"I don't wish that on anybody," said Stanton, a member of the 2008 Detroit Lions, the only 0-16 team in NFL history.

In 2009, the St. Louis Rams went 1-15. The team the Rams beat? Detroit. After the game, Stanton crossed paths with a former teammate from Michigan State, Cliff Ryan.

"I told him, 'I'm so happy for you guys,'" Stanton said. "'Usually I can never accept losing, but the fact that you guys don't have to worry about going 0-16 makes it that much better for you guys.'"

Stanton now plays for the Arizona Cardinals, who went to the NFC Championship Game last season. Cliff Avril, another former Lion, now plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Both are well aware of the Browns' 0-10 record.

"The worst part about it was the offseason," Avril said. "I couldn't tell people I played for the Lions."

To Stanton, the worst part came as the season ended.

"We were at Green Bay to end the year and we lost, and that point you're going to live in infamy as the worst team ever," Stanton said.

Both players were rookies who did not play a lot. Stanton played in three games; Avril started four.

"Honestly, I wasn’t paying attention to the record," Avril said. "I was more so trying not to be the reason why you’re losing and trying to make a name for myself. So there wasn’t any pressure for me, but a lot of guys did start quitting.

"So that’s the big thing ... trying to get guys to continue to want to keep grinding and get a win.”

Stanton credited former Lions coach Rod Marinelli for keeping the team together.

"It was one of those things that when it got toward the end, we started to address the monkey in the room," Stanton said, "but initially it was, ‘OK, like we just got to go out and win a football game.’ We were worried about that next week and stuff. It was a true testament to Rod Marinelli, because he was our head coach at the time, and he stayed the course and was unbelievable and stood out there as a leader should and he stood by us and didn’t make any excuses.

"Exactly what you would expect from a guy like that. At the same time, unfortunately when it came down to it, we just couldn’t win a football game.”

That sounds similar to the way the Browns talk about Hue Jackson. To a man, players feel they are well coached and that Jackson is handling himself well. That being said, Browns tackle Joe Thomas admitted that staying positive gets more difficult with each loss.

The players who went through going winless can think of nothing positive about the experience.

"No, I can't think of anything good that came out of that year," Stanton said.

"I know how it felt to be at the bottom and never wanted to go back," Avril said.

ESPN NFL Nation reporters Josh Weinfuss and Sheil Kapadia contributed to this report.