Whenever the question of who was the greatest pro football player in the history of the league comes up, Jim Brown’s name is usually at the top of the list.
The Cleveland Browns took Brown in the first round of the 1956 draft after his star-studded career at Syracuse. What people don’t realize is he was a multi-sport athlete. In addition to football, he was a star in basketball, track, and also a sport that did not have a lot of notoriety at the time, lacrosse. He was so good at the sport, he was named an All-American his junior and senior seasons. Read more about Jim Brown and Lacrosse.
Brown played nine years for the Cleveland Browns, and was once the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. He led the NFL in rushing every season he played, except for one. At the time of his retirement, he was the NFL record holder for both single-season and career rushing yards, as well as the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (106), total touchdowns (126), and all-purpose yards (15,549). He is the only rusher in NFL history to average over 100 yards per game for a career.
Brown was voted to the Pro Bowl in every season he played, and in his final game, which ironically came in the Pro Bowl, he scored three touchdowns to go out in style. Many who saw the game were shocked to find that would be Brown’s last since he was at the pinnacle of his career. He left the game while still on top, which cemented his legacy as one of the best, if not the best, player is history. Brown's 1,863 rushing yards in the 1963 season remain a Cleveland franchise record. It is currently the oldest franchise record for rushing yards out of all 32 NFL teams.
Thanks to Nicki Dugan from Flikr.com for this great picture of Football legend Jim Brown.
Brown’s play led the Browns to three Eastern Division championships, and within one game of a fourth, and an NFL Championship in 1964.
He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, was a three time NFL MVP, three time Pro Bowl MVP, named to nine Pro Bowls, eight first team All-Pro teams, and is a member of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He was also named by The Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever.
Former Baltimore Colts TE, John Mackey, once said, "Jimmy told me, 'Make sure when anyone tackles you he remembers how much it hurts'."
A renaissance man of sorts, Brown retired and became an actor. He made several films, but one of his noteworthy performances came in the movie, Any Given Sunday. Brown played an assistant coach, and his experience in the NFL no doubt brought authenticity to the role, as well as the movie.
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