The Cleveland Browns will bid a fond farewell to one of their longest-tenured and most respected employees this weekend.
Dino Lucarelli -- the team’s longtime publicity, media and alumni relations representative -- will retire after the game.
Lucarelli has been a part of the Cleveland sports scene for 51 years, 38 of those with the Browns.
Born and raised in the Cleveland area, Lucarelli grew up playing baseball, softball and basketball. He was a member of the Christy’s Eggs ASA team that won the local championship. He pitched for three other teams.
He worked for the Cleveland Barons of the AHL from 1962-67, the Indians from '67-'75, the Cleveland Stadium Corporation in 1975 and the Browns starting in 1975.
Lucarelli mainly did media and public relations for the Browns, but when the team moved in 1995 he was one of the few -- including many from Cleveland -- who could not stomach going to Baltimore even though Art Modell asked him to join him. Lucarelli was in charge of keeping the team’s name alive in the three years it did not play. He did an exemplary job, and became one of the team’s unofficial historians.
When the Browns returned, he ran the alumni program, where he was beloved by many former players. Asking a former player to make an appearance or represent the team isn’t always easy.
Nobody ever turned down Lucarelli, whose combination of humility and integrity touched all who know him. The team’s media room and the local media Good Guy Award are both named after him.
"As a player, Lou Groza was the Browns' greatest ambassador,” said team radio analyst Doug Dieken, a former left tackle. “For the front office, Dino was the equal.”
"Dino found a way to satisfy virtually every charitable request that came to the Browns," Browns guard Robert Jackson (a teammate of Dieken's) wrote via email. "He had a very difficult time saying no to any of the worthy causes that fans graciously volunteered themselves to. This love and passion endeared Dino and the Browns to every community in Northeast Ohio, bonding a relationship of love and passion."
There are few like him.