Cleveland Browns to honor Jim Brown with statue near stadium
The Cleveland Browns on Wednesday announced that the organization will erect a statue outside FirstEnergy Stadium in honor of Jim Brown, the best player ever to put on a Browns uniform.
“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,” said owner Jimmy Haslam and his wife Dee in a press release issued by the team, via The Plain Dealer. “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.”
The announcement was made in conjunction with a momentous event in Brown’s life, as the NFL icon celebrated his 80th birthday on Wednesday as well. He thanked the Browns organization in the same statement.
“It humbles me to be honored in this manner,” he said. “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.”
The statue will be located outside the northeast corner of the stadium and is expected to be unveiled at the team’s 2016 Alumni Weekend. It will serve as one of the few replicas of Brown outside of his likeness in FirstEnergy Stadium’s Ring of Honor and his bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Brown, a frequent defender of troubled Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, is without a doubt the most iconic athlete in Cleveland pro sports, not only for his historic exploits on the field, but for his passionate social activism off of it, not to mention his acting career.
But his nine seasons as a Browns running back still is where Brown made his mark. His 1,863 rushing yards in the 1963 season remain a Cleveland franchise high mark and is the oldest record for rushing yards still standing among all 32 NFL teams.
Brown finished his career with 12,312 rushing yards, still good for ninth all-time, and is the only running back in NFL history to average more than 100 yards per game over his entire career.