The Cleveland Browns will honor former running back Jim Brown with a statue at FirstEnergy Field. Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, will unveil the statue during the Browns 2016 Alumni Weekend. The organization has been evaluating opportunities to recognize other major contributors with commissioned pieces at the stadium. The honor is part of Brown turning 80-years-old on Wednesday.
For many Cleveland fans, the statue has been long time coming. Brown retired after the 1965 season as the as the league’s single season rushing and touchdown leader. After football, Brown began a long career as an actor. His IMDb page lists 55 acting credits for the Hall of Fame running back.
The Haslam’s expressed their appreciation for Brown, via the Cleveland Browns site.
“Everyone admires the incredible impact that Jim Brown has made for Cleveland, the Browns and the NFL throughout his lifetime, and we have had the special opportunity to know and learn from his contributions to our team on a personal level as well. It is only fitting that one of the most iconic professional football players and members of Cleveland and the Browns is commemorated with this statue as he will always be such a permanent fixture in our city.”
Jim Brown still holds several records. The most amazing is being the only rusher in NFL history to average more than 100 yards per game for a career. He also helped Cleveland win its last championship in 1964.
An eight-time first-team All-Pro, he led the NFL in rushing during eight of his nine NFL seasons and became the franchise’s all-time career leader in rushing yards, attempts and touchdowns. He also earned nine consecutive Pro Bowls honors and three Associated Press MVPs.
Dick LeBeau, Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator, played with Brown. He fondly remembers the physical power and elusiveness of his teammate.
“Jim Brown was a combination of speed and power like nobody who has ever played the game,” says LeBeau. “Obviously arm tackles were not going to slow him down, but he was so elusive. If he got into the secondary, he was so good at setting you up and then making you miss. You just didn’t know if you were going to get a big collision or be grabbing at his shoelaces.”
Councilman Jack Reed was overjoyed when told about plans for the statue. He realizes that Brown is looked up to by so many people whether in sports, politics or any other walk of life. The Haslam’s are truly doing the right thing for the city of Cleveland.
According to Bleacher Report, Brown will be a special advisor to head coach Hue Jackson. He’ll be giving his insight on the past seasons of the Browns and what needs to be done. Since Brown’s retirement in 1965, Cleveland has had just 17 winning seasons and 16 years in which a single rusher recorded 1,000 yards or more.
The Browns commissioned sculptor David L. Demming for the statue, which will be erected outside of the southeast corner of FirstEnergy Stadium. Hailing from Lakewood, Ohio, Demming has created many distinguished pieces that are featured throughout Cleveland and the United States.
As part of his birthday celebration, NFL Media tonight will premiere Jim Brown: 80 Years and Running, an hour-long NFL Network special to air tonight at 8 p.m. ET. The program highlights key moments of Brown’s life, legacy, as well as how he set the framework for players pursuing post-league careers in the media industry.
“It humbles me to be honored in this manner,” said Jim Brown in a statement release. “Dee and Jimmy Haslam, thank you for the respect and love. Your investment in Cleveland is unparalleled. To the fans of the Cleveland Browns, I guess I’ll always be with you – thank you.”
[Photo: AP Images]