2023-05-22 · 2 min read · NFL/Football
Football Legend Jim Brown died at the age of 87

David Richard/AP | Malcolm Emmons/US Presswire

The gridiron has lost one of its greatest-ever professional and college athletes with news on Thursday night that Jim Brown died at the age of 87.
A three-time NFL MVP, Brown was beloved for his contributions on and off the field, capturing the NFL Championship in 1964 with the Cleveland Browns, where he spent his entire pro career, from 1957-1965.
Brown was one of the few athletes to speak on racial issues with the civil rights movement growing across the United States in the 1950s, and he took part in the Cleveland Summit on June 4, 1967, when Muhammad Ali was looking at jail time for refusing induction into the US Army for the Vietnam War.
The iconic running back was selected in the opening round of the 1957 NFL Draft, going on to play nine glorious seasons in Cleveland, leading the league in rushing on eight occasions, averaging 5.2 yards-per-carry over his career and accumulating 12,312 yards on the ground.
The ex-Syracuse player was a unanimous All-American who lived up to expectations as a professional, earning a Pro Bowl nod every year that he played.
Consistency and versatility were among the strong suits for Brown, who hit the century mark for rushing in 58 of his 118 regular-season games, rushing for over 1,000 yards in seven campaigns, including 1,527 in one 12-game season and 1,863 in a 14-game season.
Brown was not just an outstanding football player but also excelled at basketball, track and field, and lacrosse.
In his senior year of college, he was a first-team All-American in lacrosse, scoring 43 goals in 10 games to rank second in scoring nationally.
He dominated the sport so much that the rules of lacrosse were changed, requiring a player to keep their stick in constant motion when carrying the ball rather than holding it close to his body.
He was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983, while JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse has an 800-square foot tapestry depicting him in football and lacrosse uniforms with the words “Greatest Player Ever”.
During his college days, Brown took part in the Reserves Officers’ Training Corps, spending four years in the US Army Reserves before being discharged under the rank of captain.
He also has a long acting career playing a role in “The Dirty Dozen” during the 1966 offseason when Browns owner Art Modell threatened to suspend him if he didn’t report for training camp.
Instead, Brown retired at the ripe old age of 30, holding the NFL career rushing record, which would stand until the late Walter Payton surpassed him on October 7, 1984, in his 10th season.
Some of his famous film roles included “The Split”, an MGM movie where he earned $125,000, 100 rifles with Burt Reynolds, plus he made a guest appearance in the A-Team alongside former New York Jets QB Joe Namath.
Modern-day football fans will remember him in “Any Given Sunday”, “He Got Game”, and “Draft Day”, among others.
Brown remains the all-time leading rusher in Browns’ history, helping them to the title game three times and winning once.
No Browns player has worn his famous #32 jersey since he decided to call it quits, while he was honoured with a statue outside of FirstEnergy Stadium in 2016.
While he had a storied career on the field, Brown did have many run-ins with the law, as he was arrested a half dozen times, mostly on charges of hitting women, while spending a day in jail for beating up a golfing partner and he was charged with rape, sexual battery and assault in 1985 though those charges were later dropped.
Current Browns owner Jimmy and Dee Haslam called him a true icon of the game, adding, “He was certainly the greatest to ever put on a Browns uniform and arguably one of the greatest players in NFL history,” a statement released Friday read. “Jim was one of the reasons the Browns have such a tremendous fan base today. So many people grew up watching him just dominate every time he stepped onto the football field, but his countless accolades on the field only tell a small part of his story.”
His wife Monique announced the news of his death on Instagram earlier this week, saying:
In 2020 Brown was selected to the NFL 100 all-time team and was ranked the top all-time player on the College Football 150 list to celebrate sports anniversaries.
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By: Joel Lefevre


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