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NFL Football Great Actor, & Activist Jim Brown Died at the Age of 87
On Friday, May 19th, 2023 the Cleveland Browns announced that their legendary fullback, the actor, and the strong civil rights activist, Jim Brown, had just passed away at the age of 87.
Brown’s wife, Monique, reported Jim’s death via an Instagram post on the afternoon of Friday, May 19th, 2023. Monique stated that Jim Brown, "passed peacefully," on the night of Thursday, May 18th, 2023 in their home located in Los Angeles, California. “To the world he was an activist, actor, and football star. To our family he was a loving and wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken..."
Ranking Brown as an All - Time Great Football Player
In 2020, Brown was designated to the well - respected NFL 100 - all - time team, and he was also deservingly ranked as the number - 1 all - time player on the prestigious College Football 150 - list that was ultimately created to celebrate those sports' anniversaries. Brown was selected as the greatest football player ever by the well - known publication of the Sporting News back in the year of 2002.
Jim, who was taken in the 1st - round of the 1957 NFL draft, played a total of 9 - seasons for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965, and he led the professional football league in rushing 8 of those 9 - years. Brown rushed for an amazing 12,312 - yards, and he averaged 5.2 - yards per handoff over the course of his illustrious football playing career.
Brown was also selected as a member of the Pro Bowl every year that he played pro football. He led the Cleveland Browns to the league championship game on 3 - occasions, and he helped his team win the championship title way back in 1964. Brown won the Most Valuable Player Award 3 - times too.
Jim ran for a minimum of 100 - yards in 58 of his total 118 - NFL regular - season games, and he never missed a game either proving his durability in a time when the NFL was a very violent and savage game. Brown rushed for over 1,000 - yards in 7 - seasons, including 1,527 - yards in one 12 - game season and 1,863 - yards during a 14 - game NFL regular - season.
Civil Rights Activism
Jim also worked very hard in order to empower the Black community during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and on. In June of 1967, Brown was credited for organizing, "The Cleveland Summit," a meeting of America's top or elite Black athletes, including both Bill Russell as well as Lew Alcindor (who later became known as Kareem Abdul - Jabbar) to support boxer Muhammad Ali's fight to not serve in the Vietnam War.
In later years, Jim worked to curb gang violence in Los Angeles, California, and back in the year of 1988 he founded Amer - I - Can, a program to help disadvantaged inner - city youth and ex - convicts looking to get a 2nd - chance in society. Brown also advocated for modern professional Black athletes to be more involved in and give back to the Black community.
In a recently released statement from the National Football League, the current NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, said that Jim Brown was a, "gifted athlete" who "became a forerunner and role model for athletes being involved in social initiatives outside their sports."
"It's impossible to describe the profound love and gratitude we feel for having the opportunity to be a small piece of Jim's incredible life and legacy," the Cleveland Browns explained in a statement from their front office. "We mourn his passing, but celebrate the indelible light he brought to the world. Our hearts are with Jim's family, loved ones, and all those he impacted along the way."
Brown eventually retired at the young age of 30 - years - old, at the top of his playing career or as he was in the middle of his prime as a professional athlete. He was filming the movie "The Dirty Dozen" during the NFL offseason of 1966, and production of that film went long due to the bad weather.
The Cleveland Browns owner, Art Modell, threatened to suspend Jim's pay if he failed to report to the Cleveland Browns training camp on time in which ultimately caused Brown to choose to retire from playing pro football. At that time Brown wanted to focus on his movie career as well as pressing social and political issues.
Since his retirement, no other Cleveland Browns player has worn his number - 32, and a nice bronze statue of Jim Brown went up outside of First Energy Stadium back in the year of 2016.
"It's a great moment," Jim Brown stated when the statue was eventually formally unveiled, "because I feel it throughout my body, particularly in my heart and mind."
The present Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy Haslam and Dee Haslam called Brown "a true icon" for the National Football League.
"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 last Friday by the Cleveland Browns mentioned. "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."
College Sports Career
While at Syracuse University, Jim lettered in an astonishing 4 - sports that included football, lacrosse, basketball, and track. During his college career at Syracuse, he was also considered one of the greatest lacrosse players of all - time, once scoring 5 - goals in one half of a collegiate lacrosse all - star game.
During his time at Syracuse University, Jim also served as the place - kicker of their football team too. In one game against Colgate way back in 1956, scoring an NCAA single - game record with a total of 43 - points on 6 - touchdowns and 7 - extra points. Throughout that same college football season, Brown led the country in rushing touchdowns. Back in 1955, Jim led the nation in kickoff return average too. Overall, Brown rushed for 2,091 - yards as well as scoring 26 - touchdowns for the Syracuse Orange.
"When Jim Brown's name was announced in a room, other Hall of Famers stood and applauded him," the Pro Football Hall of Fame President, Jim Porter, stated. "His persona has stood the test of time -- a fearless and dominant football player. Jim will always be remembered as one of pro football's greatest individuals."
Off the Field Criminal Incidents for Jim Brown
Brown was involved in multiple off - the - field incidents, especially shortly after he retired, but Jim reigned in his aggressive behavior as he grew older in age.
Jim was arrested 6 - times, mostly on charges of hitting women. Brown was once fined and spent a day in jail after beating up a golfing partner as well. Jim was charged with rape, sexual battery, and assault back in 1985, but those charges were later eventually dropped.
The following year he was arrested for allegedly beat up his fiancée at that time. In 1999, Brown was acquitted of domestic threats against his wife, but he was convicted of smashing the window of her car causing him to spend some jail time when he refused to attend the mandatory domestic violence counseling.
Jim Brown’s Football Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- NFL Champion (1964)
- 3 - Time NFL Most Valuable Player Award Winner (1957, 1958, 1965)
- NFL Rookie of the Year Award Winner (1957)
- 8 - Time First - Team All - Pro Selection (1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965)
- Second - Team All - Pro Selection (1962)
- 9 - Time NFL Pro Bowl Selection (1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965)
- 8 - Time NFL Rushing Yards Leader (1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965)
- 5 - Time NFL Rushing Touchdowns Leader (1957, 1958, 1959, 1963, 1965)
- NFL Scoring Leader (1958)
- NFL 1960’s All - Decade Team Selection
- NFL 50th - Anniversary All - Time Team Selection
- NFL 75th - Anniversary All - Time Team Selection
- NFL 100th - Anniversary All - Time Team Selection
- Bert Bell Award Winner (1963)
- Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor Selection
- Cleveland Browns Number 32 Retired
- Unanimous All - American Selection (1956)
- Third-team All - American Selection (1955)
- Syracuse Orange Number 44 Retired
- College Football 150 - Greatest College Football Player Ever (2020)
“Jim Brown, one of football's greatest ever, dies at 87”, espn.com, May 19, 2023.
“Jim Brown”, pro-football-reference.com, May 19, 2023.
Written by: David Green