“Big” Jim Brown celebrated by the Browns

James W. Wade III | 10/10/2013, 12:18 p.m.
“You never want to stay around too long. When I left, I left to go do the ‘Dirty Dozen.’ I ...


Staff Reporter

The Cleveland Browns did something right since new owner Jimmy Haslam took over as owner of the team; they reunited the legendary Jim Brown, now 77, with the Browns once again. Not only did they bring him back for the 2013 season, they honored him Thursday night at First Energy Stadium.

Many were concerned with the Browns uniform. The Browns wore brown jerseys and brown pants, which is apparently the first time in franchise history that the team has worn that color combination for a game. The Browns wore all brown to honor Hall of Famer Jim Brown.

Jim Brown, a legend in the city of Cleveland and the greatest player for the Browns franchise, now has his Ring of Honor name flying high in the First Energy Stadium. Brown won three Most Valuable Player awards in his short career. He was also an eight-time NFL rushing champion in his nine seasons, and was the league’s top rusher and its MVP in 1965.

During the ceremony, Jim Brown had a chance to reflect on his career. “You never want to stay around too long. When I left, I left to go do the ‘Dirty Dozen.’ I had a three-picture deal. I was a movie star,” said Brown.

After he decided to retire, he was the NFL record holder in rushing yards in a season (1,863 in 1963) and a career (12,312 yards in nine seasons). He was also the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (106), total touchdowns (126), and all-purpose yards (15,549). He gained an average of 5.2 yards every time he touched the ball.

Brown was selected in the first round of the 1956 draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was the first player ever to reach the 100-rushing-touchdowns milestone, and only a few others have done so since, despite the league's expansion to a 16-game season in 1978. The Brown's first four seasons were only 12 games long, and his last five were 14 games long. Brown's record of scoring 100 touchdowns in only 93 games stood until LaDainian Tomlinson did it in 89 games during the 2006 season.

“If you leave on top, your legacy is intact. It’s beautiful to know that you left when you were the Most Valuable Player in the league. They can’t take that away. So, when they come talk to me about who is doing well, it’s all right because I know that in my last year, I was voted MVP and that’s the legacy that I enjoy,” said Brown.

Seeing Brown now, fans still run up to him and want to chat or get an autograph. Haslam realized the connection and really feels good about Brown being back. “We are absolutely thrilled to formally honor Jim Brown, the greatest running back in the history of the NFL,” he said. “Jim is synonymous with the Cleveland Browns. He has an undeniable place in our history,” said Haslam.

The night was even better with the Browns winning their third straight game. The game started out shaky, with the Browns behind 10-0, but Brown loves his Browns, and he kept the faith until the team turned the game around to win 37-24.