RIP To The Greatest Running Back Of All Time, Jim Brown
At 87 years old it shouldn't be that much of a shock when someone dies. But this is Jim freaking Brown. The greatest running back to ever step foot onto a football field. A movie star. A civil rights icon. This man was larger than life and somehow I just kind of figured that life wasn't going to end anytime soon.
He only played nine seasons in the NFL but in that time he averaged nearly 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns a year. And half his career they only played 12 games and the other half they played 14. Just an absolute weapon out of the backfield.
Despite playing just 118 games, he still ranks among the NFL all-time leading running backs in rushing average (third), rushing touchdowns (sixth) and rushing yards (11th). And in his final season, he led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,544, which was 677 more yards than runner-up Gale Sayers.
Then in 1965, when Art Modell tried to tell him he had to leave Hollywood and come back to train for the Browns, Jim Brown told him to fuck off and never played again. He knew what an asshole Art was and decided kissing Hollywood starlets was a better option. An absolute legend.
More importantly than all the stuff on the field and on the silver screen, Brown was a civil rights icon. One of the athletes at the Cleveland summit which saw him, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar come together to support Ali's decision not to fight in the Vietnam War.
He raised money and fought for a better lives for underprivileged youth. He worked tirelessly to stop inner city violence. He was a man who always remembered where he came from.
I remember early on in my career covering the Browns he would come to the facility and it was like God himself arrived. He had an aura about him that made everyone stand a little taller and show a little more respect. He spoke to everyone and shook everyone's hands. He was truly larger than life.
We use the word GOAT way too much these days but today we lost someone who actually earned that monicker.
RIP Jim Brown.