Browns owner Jimmy Haslam named Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown the organization’s new “special adviser” this morning during a news conference at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Haslam said Brown will be involved with the community and the fan base. Brown also said he will serve as a mentor to current Browns players, and his Amer-I-Can program will remain active.
“Player engagement is where you’ll see me most of the time,” Brown said.
There was a rift between Brown, 77, and the team after former President Mike Holmgren removed Brown as adviser to Randy Lerner in 2010. But after Haslam purchased the Browns from Lerner last year for about $1 billion, Brown expressed his desire to become part of the new regime’s plans. In September, Brown and Haslam began discussing a formal reunion.
“I’m very happy to be back,” Brown said. “I have a great respect for the city, for the way the fans have treated me.”
Below is a news release from the Browns.
The Cleveland Browns today announced that they have named Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown as a Special Advisor. In his role, Brown will perform in a variety of off-field capacities with the club and in the community. Brown previously served as an Executive Advisor with the team, a position he held through 2010.
“I am excited to be back and a part of a franchise that will always be very close to my heart,” Brown said. “I want to thank Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner for giving me this chance to return to the organization and the great city of Cleveland, whose fans are the best in the NFL and who always have supported me. I look forward to getting started and once again make difference, not just with the franchise but in the Northeast Ohio community.”
“Jim Brown is one of the most iconic figures, not just in Cleveland, but the entire NFL,” said Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam. “His playing career still stands as one of the most remarkable in league annals, and his work in the community since his retirement, especially with our youth, has been just as impressive. He will be a tremendous asset to our organization and we are thrilled that he will be representing the Browns in many different capacities.”
Brown was Cleveland’s number one draft choice in 1957 out of Syracuse, where he starred in both football and lacrosse. He went on to fulfill his storied NFL career, which included leading the NFL in rushing in eight of his nine seasons. He appeared in nine straight Pro Bowls and was named the NFL’s MVP three times (1957, 1958 & 1965). Brown owns team records for most combined net yards (15,459), career rushing yards (12,312), most points in one season (126), career TDs (126), rushing TDs (106), most consecutive games scoring a TD (10) and most 1,000 yard seasons (7).
Brown’s number 32 was retired by the club and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Brown is very active with his Amer-I-Can Program, which works in schools, prisons and communities across the country. Brown was born on February 17, 1936, in St. Simons, Ga. He and his wife, Monique, live in California with their two children.