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Jim Brown says he was not one of Mike Holmgren’s “boys”

Jim Brown AP

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.

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68 Responses to “Jim Brown says he was not one of Mike Holmgren’s “boys””
  1. cwk22 says: May 31, 2013 8:54 PM

    Go away already.

  2. brownsalwaysrebuilding says: May 31, 2013 8:56 PM

    Glad Lerner and Holmgren are gone. Vultures.

    Hopefully things work out better with Haslam and if he’s really innocent in the trucking rebates then hopefully the people within his company responsible will be brought to justice.

    I hope it works out for him personally because he seems like a good guy and a relief to have after the Lerners.

  3. noring4youstill says: May 31, 2013 8:57 PM

    Always about race

  4. bchapman2011 says: May 31, 2013 9:01 PM

    These ex players like Jim Brown and Joe Namath are all cut from the same cloth. They love to voice their opinions on the state of their former teams almost as if they expect the owners to consult with them throughout then decision making process. Quit saying outrageous things just to keep your names in the headlines. Haslam is going to regret giving Brown a position with the team. Right now it helps him in the court of public opinion but give it six months.

  5. rodzilla40 says: May 31, 2013 9:02 PM

    Jim Brown, a true high class HOFer. Holmgren, FTP.

  6. lagg1 says: May 31, 2013 9:05 PM

    If Holmgren handled Brown this way, he should be shunned. Jim Brown is the Browns.

  7. rodzilla40 says: May 31, 2013 9:06 PM

    Go Cowboys though.

  8. hawkforlife says: May 31, 2013 9:08 PM

    And as much as I’m not a Jim Brown fan it supports what I’ve always thought, Holmgren is way overrated and I wonder how many super bowls the Hawks could have gone to if not for him destroying the team.

  9. buckybadger says: May 31, 2013 9:08 PM

    What has Jim Brown brought to the franchise his time involved with it since he retired from the game? I don’t see what is accomplished by bringing him back. The Browns need to look forward and get a GM and coach who can tread on their own name. I am all for remembering the greats but for winning you need to look forward not back.

  10. seaeagle707 says: May 31, 2013 9:09 PM

    There will never be any love lost between Jim Brown and Mike Holmgren. I questioned the wisdom of Cleveland hiring “The Walrus”, a coach whom I truly admire. At Seattle he bit off more than he could chew when he tried to be the GM and Head Coach. As a field general he is superb. But in the office, while others run things outside, I don’t think he gets on very well. He had a wonderful career in SF, then Green Bay, and then in Seattle. He should’ve skipped the exec experience in Cleveland. Now, had they made him the Head Coach of the Browns, I believe that both the team and he would be doing a lot better today.

    As for Jim Brown’s comments, I don’t know anything so I’ll shut up.

  11. metalhead65 says: May 31, 2013 9:15 PM

    and if I remember right you were one of the people applauding Holmgren’s move saying former players like brown and Bernie Kosar had no business having a say in how to run the browns organization. but now on his return you are treating him like some conquering hero returning home?

  12. lbcoach34 says: May 31, 2013 9:16 PM

    Holmgren could go down as the single worst disaster to ever hit Cleveland

  13. charlutes says: May 31, 2013 9:18 PM

    Correction: He’s taking another turn with the team because they have agreed to write him checks once more. In essence he has agreed to cash said checks, which he probably never stopped being open to.

  14. rvnmaniak says: May 31, 2013 9:19 PM

    The fact is Jim Brown is a loser. He fits the Browns very well. Talk about a guy who lives on what he did yesterday. I’m 51 and Jim Brown hasn’t done crap since I was 4.
    Damn right he was overpaid. He shouldn’t be paid at all.

  15. donmcg2012 says: May 31, 2013 9:23 PM

    As a 46 year fan of the Browns, I say to Jim Brown, just go away. You refused in 1998 at the one year countdown party to the first kickoff of the return to sign autographs of certain folks who didn’t measure up to your colors. Your arrogance is sickening.

  16. nineroutsider says: May 31, 2013 9:24 PM

    The way I see it, both were being paid for things they did in the past, so there’s no difference to me on that front. Jim Brown though, is not a talent evaluator and he did have too much control over the team in his last stint with them. I respect him, but he just needs to be a PR man and as long as he knows that it should work out. It’s good for the fans.

    Holmgren came to Cleveland to milk them and return to the west coast. That was painfully obvious. Carmen Policy did the same thing. Hopefully Cleveland is in better hands now, although I’m skeptical. Their fans deserve much better. I do think their roster has been improved and same with their staff so maybe they will put something together this year. Good luck.

  17. howiehandles says: May 31, 2013 9:32 PM

    Playing the race card, very subtle. Jim, you’re nothing more than a mascot, enjoy the check. No one is going to use your advice.

  18. borophyll says: May 31, 2013 9:36 PM

    I don’t know about all that, but Homlgren did hire Tom Heckert, who is the best GM the Browns have had since ’99, 100 times better than the joker they have in there now.

  19. 6sbtitles2sweet says: May 31, 2013 9:39 PM

    i’ll give jim brown credit for the player he was, the numbers he put up and the history he stamped into the nfl but he has no place in a frt office, i’m sorry. put him on the field and let him help coach rb. thats where he belongs with the team!

  20. hatesycophants says: May 31, 2013 9:52 PM

    I appreciate Jim Brown (not at all a Browns fan) as a true football fan. However, I just don’t care to hear about this type of petty crap.

  21. captaincanoe says: May 31, 2013 9:54 PM

    If he would have went and brougt back sanwhiches like Holgren asked he would’nt have got fired. Is’nt he the last living member of the Dirty Dozen? Just saying….

  22. MichaelWrites says: May 31, 2013 9:54 PM

    You can’t handle the truth.

  23. joecool16280 says: May 31, 2013 10:05 PM

    Maybe it’s because I’ve never stepped foot in Cleveland but I’ve always wondered why this guy I so untouchable. I fully understand his contributions to the game and how dominate he was but I’ve also always heard about how big of a jerk he is. Toss in the domestic violence and other legal issues and that’s just reason to keep him at arms length as far as I’m concerned.

  24. wholelottaawesome says: May 31, 2013 10:10 PM

    He retired from playing before I was born. He was an amazing player. He needs to shut up. He isn’t owed anything. If a future hall of game coach was hired as president and asked him to leave then be a professional and leave.

    Being honest. He is acting a little desperate and a little sad. If the only job he can find is by basically using his name to hold current owners ransom for a job, then I guess Holmgren really was able to evaluate his talent.

  25. abninf says: May 31, 2013 10:19 PM

    Does anyone know what Brown did/does to earn a lot of money from the team? I’m still trying to figure it out.

  26. surly1n1nd1anapol1s says: May 31, 2013 10:22 PM

    Results speak for themselves. Both Brown & Holmgren appear to be overrated following short periods of success.

  27. 6milman says: May 31, 2013 10:26 PM

    There remains a single caveat when listening to what Brown has to say. At least publicly, he has shown himself to be a contentious, rude, and arrogant man who is too enamored of himself to be taken seriously.

  28. aresarrow says: May 31, 2013 10:29 PM

    Just shut up. For the millionth time. SHUT UP!

  29. cobrala2 says: May 31, 2013 10:30 PM

    I didn’t have to read any of this to already be of the opinion that Mike Holmgren got shadier with age.

  30. spideysdog says: May 31, 2013 10:47 PM

    ok, so Holmgren took my Hawks to the Super Bowl so I’m probably biased. I am not claiming he was a great exec for Cleveland either, but really?

    is Jim Brown suggesting that Cleveland did so well before Holmgren when he was “involved”? I understand and respect the history of Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns, but there isn’t a President on the planet that doesn’t bring in “his boys” when he takes over a company. especially a failing one.

  31. pb420 says: May 31, 2013 11:25 PM

    Pretty sure it was Holmgren who turned Brown onto wearing that little African beanie. They were boys alright, through thick and thin.

  32. vette200 says: May 31, 2013 11:26 PM

    Mike “the Big Show” Holmgren is now known as Mike “the Big Hoax” Holmgren to Browns fans.
    That no good do nothing milked Randy Lerner for $48 million and after he was fired by Jimmy Haslam he went back to Seattle laughing all the way to the bank.

    No one really knew what Holmgren really did on a day-to-day basis. But Jim Brown would have never ratted Holmgren out to Lerner since no one really knew what Brown did. Apparently both of them were riding on the same gravy train until Holmgren booted Brown out since that greedy fat arse wanted all the gravy for himself.

  33. geetee52 says: May 31, 2013 11:32 PM

    If there is a more bitter, negative, trouble-making, malcontent with a nastier disposition than Jim Brown, I’d like to know who it is.

  34. ballboy48 says: May 31, 2013 11:37 PM

    Wait…Did Mike Holmgren tell Jim Brown that he was getting paid too much? Huh? Holmgren what did you do exactly, in Cleveland, to deserve $8 Million per year? NOTHING! Holmgren is a fake, and the only reason he did well was because of his assistant coaches and players (the one’s he didn’t draft). Another reason why no team should allow him to ruin their team with his antiquated version of the WC Offense.

  35. butchhickory says: May 31, 2013 11:52 PM

    What did he do to deserve anything ? Get the job because you can do the job, not because you’re Brown.

  36. themackstrong says: Jun 1, 2013 12:10 AM

    Seattle/Green Bay fans know this of Mike Holmgren, he is an excellent coach and a good leader in sports. Players play their heart out for him. As an evaluator of college talent- he was terrible and lost his GM duties after multiple flop drafts. Jim Brown was bitter even before he left The Browns for 3 years.

  37. mrplow3 says: Jun 1, 2013 12:21 AM

    He uses the term “boys” to imply a racist undertone without actually making the accusation.

    I don’t like it.

    Fact is both these guys failed leading the Browns, in fact everybody in history has pretty much failed leading the Browns.

  38. riverhorsey says: Jun 1, 2013 12:35 AM

    Jim Brown has become a joke with his comments.

  39. purplepride74 says: Jun 1, 2013 12:42 AM

    I understand that he was an awesome player, but I kind if wonder what value he adds to the team today. But, it’s not my team so whatever …

  40. rayjayjohnsonjr says: Jun 1, 2013 12:47 AM

    I really don’t see where Brown has any meaningful way that he can help the team. He had his day as a player and just can’t seem to be able to give up the past. A bitter old man looking for revenge and a paycheck.

  41. thetooloftools says: Jun 1, 2013 12:50 AM

    Mike Holmgren didn’t care about Cleveland, didn’t want the job, but the $$$$$ was too good so he took it. He was an ass here. Didn’t do anything. Fat and lazy. Hired/paid guys though his agent.
    Jim Brown. Please. He just wants a check. Listen to his interview with Tony Rizzo on WKNR. He even talked about it.
    He wanted paid.
    He still does.
    He has no shame.
    Holmgren was a thief.
    Choke on the money 8itch.

  42. mcba1n says: Jun 1, 2013 1:01 AM

    Gotta be fair here. Jim Brown probably is the best football player of all time. If not, he’s in the top 2 or 3 – but likely #1 on any list.

    Does that make him a great front office guy? Or do they make him do the dog/pony show to big ticket luxury box types to sell more of them?

    I don’t know what he does for the Browns. I don’t see some of the all time greats in the NFL do what he does. Now I think Holmgren destroyed that team for some time (lol who gives up picks to move up 1 spot in the 1st round or take a 29 yr old in the 1st round? haha)… But the Browns front office probably would be better off without one of the greatest athletes that ever walked the planet looking over their shoulder. Not saying Jim Brown wouldn’t be an amazing ambassador for the team – but beyond that, unless he’s calling the shots, which he isn’t – he should not be in the media at all. Sad part is, he is constantly.

    We only should be discussing Jim Brown as one of the top athletes of all time (in the top 3 no problem). If he wants to do more with football, then step up and get in the proper front office. If not, there’s nothing to talk about. He gets a cushy job to do nothing but be Jim Brown with 0 responsibility to what the product is on the field.

  43. orivar says: Jun 1, 2013 1:26 AM

    This interview with Reggie is a pretty good listen. It’s pretty lengthy so would suggest to listen to it during filler time.

  44. rg321 says: Jun 1, 2013 2:08 AM

    I Believe every word of what Jim Brown said. Even though he is nothing but a highly paid cheerleader is has had almost no success in his tenure there. I don’t blame Mike at all for doing what he did, get paid and take care of your people. Brown was making too much money and needed to be cut,still does. All in all , this just proves Mike didn’t care about Cleavland at all and knew how to hustle his boss.

    #cleavlandrocks?

  45. geicocaveman says: Jun 1, 2013 2:27 AM

    Holmgren got paid 48 million to run Cleveland, that’s nuts.

  46. footballhistorian says: Jun 1, 2013 3:37 AM

    Brown was an unparalleled fullback and is an alumnus with an over-inflated sense of self-worth

  47. footballhistorian says: Jun 1, 2013 3:38 AM

    Well – so much for my html prowess…

  48. tombstone7 says: Jun 1, 2013 4:49 AM

    To Abinif…..What Brown has done for the CLEVELAND BROWNS is that under George Halas, Brown made them relevant….won CHAMPIONSHIPS when football was a MAN’S GAME…Unlike today’s athletes who are “spoiled!”

  49. joetoronto says: Jun 1, 2013 4:58 AM

    surly1n1nd1anapol1s says:
    May 31, 2013 10:22 PM
    Results speak for themselves. Both Brown & Holmgren appear to be overrated following short periods of success.
    ***************************************************
    Say what???

    SMH.

  50. hornbuckle says: Jun 1, 2013 6:27 AM

    Brown WAS a great back but he should just shut up and go away.

  51. stopmakingexcuses says: Jun 1, 2013 6:55 AM

    Cleveland needs Brown around so that there is actually some “star power” around the facility.

    They’ve failed to do this with their current football team.

  52. punish22 says: Jun 1, 2013 7:05 AM

    Holmgren did what every other Brown’s GM should have. Toss Jim Brown cause he’s an old, racist loser who didn’t do squat! Just go wear your grandmas knitted hat Brown and get lost you BUM!

  53. punish22 says: Jun 1, 2013 7:07 AM

    Hey Brown….the 50′s are calling and they want their knitted hat back! You BUM!

  54. punish22 says: Jun 1, 2013 7:08 AM

    Another racist who won’t go away!!! Geeeeese! Enough already you BUM! The BRowns suck and so do you…..you BUM!

  55. audient says: Jun 1, 2013 7:14 AM

    >Does anyone know what Brown did/does to earn a lot of money from the team? I’m still trying to figure it out.

    This is hardly the first comment here or elsewhere wanting to know what Jim Brown is doing to earn payment from the Browns.

    It must slay some of these people, for a black man to get paid for something less than clearly tangible or physical labor.

    How many of these people also complain about that “Kenyan Muslim socialist” in the White House, I wonder.

    As Tony Grossi said repeatedly on the radio in Cleveland to a talk radio guy who seemed to think Brown should be volunteering his time, “Why wouldn’t he get paid?”

  56. shlort says: Jun 1, 2013 7:41 AM

    Brown is getting more and more racist with age. He managed to get two racist comments into one interview. Holmgren wanted him to “dance” and Brown claimed he was not one of Holmgrens “boys”.

  57. pftjunkie says: Jun 1, 2013 7:46 AM

    Mike Holmgren is not shady. He probably just didn’t want someone like Jim Brown going around making unnecessary comments and stirring the pot like he seems to enjoy doing. Just because someone is a legendary HOF player doesn’t mean you need their 2 cents worth on every move you make…

  58. peytonsneck18 says: Jun 1, 2013 8:18 AM

    then jim proceeded and said, ” NOW GET OFF MY LAWN”!!!

  59. stew48 says: Jun 1, 2013 8:20 AM

    Having been an eye witness to Brown running the football for Cleveland, he was certainly in a class by himself. Now, I think, we can drop the “cl”; he repeatedly shows a most unpleasant personality.

  60. sheetolay says: Jun 1, 2013 8:48 AM

    Jim Brown was a stud when he played but as an ambassador for his former team he shows no tact.

    This will be short lived and Haslaam will come to regret it.

  61. munny10 says: Jun 1, 2013 8:52 AM

    @audgient, first every exec is on the hook to perform, so they bring in their guys that the have gone to war with. Second, brown is a blow hard and racist, i don’t care if you are a hofamer, i wouldn’t want him around either. Third, asking what the man brings to benefit the success of the organization is fair-and it needs to be more than stories of the glory days. Final red-flag on brown and brown supporters is the irony that they hint and claim racism at every turn when the are the biggest racists in the room. It would be funny if it wasn’t so shameful and pathetic.

  62. CKL says: Jun 1, 2013 9:19 AM

    Naturally Brown didn’t comment on how out of childish spite after Holmgren wanted to reduce his salary and he refused, he then refused to go to a team function that honored him as one of the Browns greats. Respect (which is Brown-speak for money, it seems) is a two way street, Brown. and if you truly respected your franchise and its history, you would have attended regardless of what you felt about Holmgren.

  63. tsizzlesucks says: Jun 1, 2013 9:31 AM

    GREATEST FOOTBALL PLAYER EVER!!

  64. mackie66 says: Jun 1, 2013 9:33 AM

    Im positive JB doesn’t lie about anything, he’s pure as driven snow.

  65. meangene56 says: Jun 1, 2013 10:13 AM

    Holy Hell…. wah wah wah.

    Jim, As you told the fans “get over it”! Its getting to be old schtick

  66. mackcarrington says: Jun 1, 2013 10:39 AM

    You Jim Brown haters really have me confused. Most of you are the same people who complain and whine about the world being so “politically correct”, and here’s a man who is most definitely not PC, speaks his mind wether he thinks people will like it or not, doesn’t kiss anybody’s butt, and you people just bash him. What do you people want?

  67. fearthefork says: Jun 1, 2013 11:41 AM

    Jim Brown is the greatest NFL running back…EVER

    I could care less if Haslam wants to cut the guy a rebate check every month…….

  68. dweth says: Jun 4, 2013 12:01 PM

    How many of these posters have encountered Jim Brown in person as a fan? If you have, you know he is truly not fan friendly and somewhat of a jerk. Enough said.

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