Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown has returned to the Browns after a three-year exile. He attributes his absence to the man who ran the show under owner Randy Lerner — the man who coincidentally is known in some league circles as the Big Show.
Brown, in a visit with NFL Network’s Total Access, explained that his run with the team ended because former CEO Mike Holmgren believes Brown was making too much money.
“When he called his meeting with me, he didn’t fire me, he just decided I was getting paid too much and he didn’t need me to do anything but maybe a little dancing,” Brown said. “I didn’t feel he understood my relationship with Cleveland and I don’t think he really cared because I know that he hired a lot of his own people and they made a lot of money. Now he is gone. So the disconnect there was that I was not one of his boys.”
Brown was far more diplomatic than former Browns receiver Reggie Rucker, who recently teed off on Holmgren in an appearance with 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, saying that Brown’s termination was “done in such an ugly, rude, and disrespectful way.”
Rucker swept more broadly, suggesting that Holmgren got rid of Brown so that Holmgren wouldn’t have to worry about Brown blowing the whistle on Holmgren to the boss. “If you were a guy like Mike Holmgren and you came here and you took advantage of a Randy Lerner and the fact that he was an absent owner and you wanted to do whatever you wanted to do, show up whenever you wanted to show up and promise everything and give nothing and take $48 million out of here, would you want Jim Brown around and he’s loyal to the owner?” Rucker said. “No you wouldn’t. . . .
“The fact is Mike Holmgren was a fake. . . . You’re in this business and the fact is Jim Brown tells the truth. People can’t take it.”.
Brown explained that he’s taking another turn with the team for one reason. “The respect that was given to me by Jimmy Haslam and his team,” Brown said. “They reached out and gave the history the respect. There was no way to refuse that opportunity because I am always going to be a Cleveland Brown.”
Still, for any team that embraces its former players, the challenge remains ensuring that no former player has too much influence over the current football operations. In the past, Brown arguably has had too much sway over the team, since he has the collective ear of the fan base.
Still, Holmgren arguably could have handled Brown differently. New owner Jimmy Haslam definitely is.