CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown has passed away at the age of 87.
A spokesperson announced Brown passed away peacefully in his home in Los Angeles Thursday with his wife, Monique, by his side, according to the Associated Press.
The Browns announced his passing on social media Friday.
“Jim Brown Forever. Legend. Leader. Activist. Visionary. 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. 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.”
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his wife released a statement on the passing of Jim Brown.
“Jim Brown is a true icon of not just the Cleveland Browns but the entire NFL. He was certainly the greatest to ever put on a Browns uniform and arguably one of the greatest players in NFL history. 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 commitment to making a positive impact for all of humanity off the field is what he should also be known for. In the time we’ve spent with Jim, especially when we first became a part of the Browns, we learned so much from him about the unifying force sports can be and how to use sport as a vehicle for change while making a positive impact in the community. Jim broke down barriers just as he broke tackles. He fought for civil rights, brought athletes from all different sports together to use their platform for good. Many thought Jim retired from football too soon, but he always did it his way. From the football field, to Hollywood, to his work in athlete activism, Jim always played the leading role. His devotion to fighting racial injustice, improving education for youth and positively impacting the many lives he has through his Amer-I-Can Program has left a lasting legacy well beyond all he accomplished on the field.
Jim Brown is the Cleveland Browns and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Monique, his children, and entire family as well as all those who mourn this immense loss.”
Brown was drafted number 1 in 1957 out of Syracuse.
He played from 1957-65 for the Browns and shattered many of the league’s rushing records. He rushed for over 12,000 yards and 106 touchdowns, all records at the time of his retirement.
Brown rushed for 1,863 yards in 1963 and scored 17 touchdowns twice, once in 1958 and again in 1965.
He was inducted into the Browns Ring of Honor and the NFL announced in 2023 it had renamed its league rushing title as The Jim Brown Award.
After his playing career, Brown was a social activist and actor.
In 1967, Brown organized a meeting in Cleveland of the nation’s top Black athletes, including Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor, who later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to support boxer Muhammad Ali’s fight against the war in Vietnam.
Among his films were “100 Rifles,” “Mars Attacks!” Spike Lee’s “He Got Game,” Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday,” and the satire “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” in which he parodied the blaxploitation genre. In 2002, Brown was the subject of Lee’s HBO documentary “Jim Brown: All-American.”
Governor Mike DeWine released a statement Friday on the passing of Jim Brown.
“Fran and I are saddened to learn of the death of legendary NFL running back Jim Brown. As a young boy, I would watch Jim play for the Cleveland Browns on TV every Sunday, and few could keep him out of the end zone. Adding to his reputation as one of the greatest players in NFL history was his notable humanitarian efforts, including advocating for civil rights, working with disadvantaged urban youth, and helping those in prison to reform and rehabilitate. Fran and I extend our sincerest condolences to Jim Brown’s family at this time.”
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