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Jim Brown doesn’t see many great runners in today’s NFL

Jim Brown AP

As Jim Brown surveys the landscape of running backs in the modern NFL, he’s not particularly impressed.

Brown told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that the reason not many running backs are getting the ball 20 times a game — as he did during his Hall of Fame career with the Browns — is that there just aren’t very many great running backs in the NFL right now.

“Who are the running backs who aren’t getting the ball today who should be?” Brown said. “Adrian Peterson isn’t running by committee. Nobody is going to tell me Marshawn Lynch can’t run. He’s strong as an ox. I don’t have the answers, but it doesn’t bother me. I don’t measure things by the average, which I know writers would have to look at things the way they have to, but I don’t have to. I’m looking at the exceptions to the rule, not the rule. . . . As we sit here, I can’t name seven great runners. Can you?”

For the handful of runners who truly are great, however, Brown thinks it’s a shame when their teams don’t recognize their greatness and get them the ball as often as possible.

“I could never understand why they did that to Barry Sanders in Detroit,” Brown said. “I know that’s one of the reasons why he retired, because they took him out on third down and let someone else catch the ball. I thought they must be out of their mind because Barry is such a threat.”

How would Brown fare in today’s NFL?

“I believe if I were playing the game today, I would still get the ball as much as I did all those years ago,” Brown said.

The game has changed and running backs have been devalued since Brown retired half a century ago. But Jim Brown would be a great player in any era.

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137 Responses to “Jim Brown doesn’t see many great runners in today’s NFL”
  1. alshonbrandontandem says: Apr 4, 2014 2:01 PM

    Does this old man ever have anything nice to say?

    Get off my yard

  2. GenoAtkinswillnotbestopped says: Apr 4, 2014 2:02 PM

    He probably has a lot of respect for Ray Rice though.

  3. InFact says: Apr 4, 2014 2:02 PM

    I can name seven.

    Their names all start with “Jim” and end
    with “Brown.”

    He’s the only great runner ever.

  4. blacknole08 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:03 PM

    Well he was right about Trent Richardson

  5. InFact says: Apr 4, 2014 2:03 PM

    Why debate whether Jim Brown would be a fine running back today? — as you may as well ask if he could play center field for the Yankees.

    The NFL has changed drastically since he played.

    So how is a comparison possible?

  6. clowntown1 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:03 PM

    Eddie Lacy

  7. silencethecritics says: Apr 4, 2014 2:04 PM

    Why is it everytime we hear something from Jim Brown, it’s rarely positive? Does this guy just go around thinking negatively about everything? Sheesh, someone give the guy a hug and reassure him that he’s still the greatest.

  8. cadillacjosh says: Apr 4, 2014 2:06 PM

    Maybe it’s a Bears-homerish thing to say, but it bothers me that Matt Forte is never mentioned in the best of running backs. I’m not sure there’s a guy who has the complete package of blocking, pass catching, and running as good as him.

  9. kozmo50 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:06 PM

    Oh shut up!!

  10. beachsidejames says: Apr 4, 2014 2:07 PM

    Quit the game early except for talking about it. IMO he wouldn’t rate as high as alot of backs if he lined up today.

  11. chut26 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:07 PM

    Top 3 RB’s

    Lesean McCoy
    AP
    Beast mode

    In that order

  12. fanofthegame1 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:07 PM

    Lesean McCoy

    btw RIP Ernie Davis, He would of been better than JB. They would of been the best combo ever and its not close.

  13. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Apr 4, 2014 2:08 PM

    So much of it is just that a long list of rule changes (made initially in 1977 to take effect in 1978 – with various evolutions in the quarter century since) have made it comparatively much easier to gain yards working the air attack.

    Of course, those rule changes were designed to implement that very effect. Mission accomplished.

    About Brown, he was an awesome force — but that was back in a largely segregated NFL — with 240 pound OLs and DLs, and DBs who ran 4.9 forties. How would Brown do in the modern era?

    I don’t think it’d be as well as he (and most others) think. He got in when there was an awful lot of low-hanging fruit – so to speak.

  14. topcide says: Apr 4, 2014 2:09 PM

    Let Jim Brown get hit by the guys that play defense today and see what he thinks. Granted, you could basically punch guys in his era, but Lb’s Dl, were 50% smaller than they are now.

  15. doctorrustbelt says: Apr 4, 2014 2:09 PM

    Jim Brown is right about keeping Barry Sanders in on third downs.

    It makes no sense to take a Hall of Fame running back who possesses above-average receiving ability out on third downs.

    THAT SAID… the Detroit Lions made lots of stupid management/personnel/coaching mistakes during that era.

  16. vegaskid21 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:09 PM

    Ole Jim Bob must have gone blind. Adrian Peterson, Jamal Charles, lynch, Doug Martin, Lacy, McCoy. Dudes can run

  17. geebowater says: Apr 4, 2014 2:10 PM

    Frank Gore

  18. chad504boy says: Apr 4, 2014 2:10 PM

    how fast is jim’s 40?

  19. mrsryansfamoustoejam says: Apr 4, 2014 2:10 PM

    I am so tired of Jim Brown backhandedly insulting modern players to stroke his own ego. Sure, he was great in his day, but the game is much faster and vastly more complex that when he played. The defenders are also much stronger and faster. You never know, he could be a bust if he were drafted today. Please stop with the “great in any era” pablum!

  20. tavisteelersfan says: Apr 4, 2014 2:10 PM

    It is a two way street … I started to think that when I started hearing the term “run him ’till the wheels fall off”. Runners are being ground down at the beginning of their career and are worn out before the term greatness is available.

  21. awdlmd says: Apr 4, 2014 2:11 PM

    It’s a little harder to run when you’re not going against defenders from 200 years ago that weigh 225 lb and run 5.2 40’s.

  22. stupadassle26 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:11 PM

    Go away already

  23. thepftpoet says: Apr 4, 2014 2:13 PM

    Jim Brown is just jealous AD already broke all his records.

    AD = the greatest running back of all time, and arguably the greatest player of all the time.

  24. oriolesvsravens says: Apr 4, 2014 2:13 PM

    Its not that there are not many great runners, they’re just not valued as much as they were before. 8 year injury filled career for a premium amount of money is not attractive to any GM whenn it’s a pass first league.

  25. mattjay0101 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:14 PM

    “I’m Grumpy…..like all the time” – #32

  26. glac1 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:15 PM

    Jimmy who?????? From where??????

  27. datpinoyboy68 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:15 PM

    Jim Brown was a beast. He was BEAST MODE way before Lynch. But the rules changed so the passing game can be played more. The days of the 30+ carries a game RB are going away. Might as well merge the Arena and the NFL.

  28. sandersmarcus10 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:15 PM

    Different type of NFL now than it was back in the day, teams only could run and the great teams did both run and pass well. I know Jim Brown is great and all but did he ever win a championship with running the ball 20 times a game or 30.

  29. reptar310 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:15 PM

    1. Adrian Peterson
    2. Lesean McCoy
    3. Marshawn Lynch
    4. Frank Gore
    5. Matt Forte
    6. Jamaal Charles
    7. Steven Jackson

    Hmm Jim Brown may be right.

  30. thepftpoet says: Apr 4, 2014 2:16 PM

    Best Running Backs of all time:

    1. Adrian Peterson
    2. Barry Sanders
    3. Walter Peyton
    4. O.J. Simpson
    5. Jim Brown

  31. evilglazers666 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:19 PM

    Jamaal Charles?

  32. Celebrity Man Guy says: Apr 4, 2014 2:20 PM

    Did somebody mention Eddie Lacy? I don’t think Jimbo was talking about the kind of guy you can pick up in the second round of any draft when he was referring to “great runners.”

  33. seang12334 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:20 PM

    LaDanian Tomlinson is definitely the best ive ever seen in my life. better than and RB in the league right now in his prime

  34. mattyk72 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:21 PM

    Here’s seven, Jim… wasn’t that hard

    AP
    McCoy
    Forte
    Charles
    Morris
    Lynch
    Lacy

    In no particular order I should add.

  35. bullcharger says: Apr 4, 2014 2:21 PM

    It would be very hard for there to be a next Jim Brown. There are too many great athletes in the game now for there to be one that is head and shoulders better than everyone else. Adrian Peterson is as close as there has been recently. Walter Payton was close, Bo Jackson was close. Still not the difference between Jim Brown and the rest of the players in his day. He was like Wilt Chamberlain. Almost completely unstoppable and able to win the game on his own. 5.2 yards per carry. It’s crazy.

    If the next Jim Brown ever arrives, I can tell you the team lucky enough to have him will hand off all the time. Why would you ever throw it if the running game couldn’t be stopped.

  36. billytodd2013blbaad says: Apr 4, 2014 2:22 PM

    Sorry but Jim Brown is nothing more than a grumpy old man with a HUGE chip on his shoulder and never has anything positive to say. Some NFL greats stay around as teachers of the game but Brown just stays around and everyone wishes he’d just go away!

  37. raideralex99 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:24 PM

    Kickers made more than RBs in today’s NFL … what does that tell you?

  38. FlashPatterson says: Apr 4, 2014 2:29 PM

    If Jim Brown played in today’s NFL he would be average at best, players these days are monsters, they are way bigger, faster, and stronger.

  39. obiemills says: Apr 4, 2014 2:30 PM

    Jim Brown is maybe the best running back I have ever seen. That other Brown, Larry, was pretty good, not as strong and got worn out by the Redskins. In today’s game, protecting investments, Jim, you might still be running. The best run I have in my memory bank, is you, 7 yards 5 of which you were horizontal to the ground and still made it to the end zone. I still don’t believe it but I did watch you do it. Come to think of it, that might have been someone else, joking, IT WAS YOU. You also laid on the ground for a few extra seconds after every run. Hershel Walker and that guy from Houston were better than you. It is a different game now, we can share the memories, and you were and are the best I ever saw, however, some of today’s runner’s would fly by you and you would be stuck smelling their exhaust. We don’t need to talk about a balcony do we? Shut the hell up. I will too.

  40. kcflake says: Apr 4, 2014 2:31 PM

    Who Cares what Kim Brown says. It;’s not our fault he left the league too soon and regrets it. Jamall Charles IS a REAL Running back. Would Have made old Jim look Weak back in the day as well.

  41. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Apr 4, 2014 2:32 PM

    Can Brown name seven “great runners” from his own era?

    I can’t either.

  42. channelguy says: Apr 4, 2014 2:34 PM

    Brown would be running against much bigger players today, but if he was young today, he would also be proportionately bigger and stronger. So there’s no real reason to think he wouldn’t be just as dominant.

  43. michaelskakel says: Apr 4, 2014 2:34 PM

    Jim Brown is, without a doubt, one of the best RBs of all time. No question. BUT… He was 6’2, 230 playing against LBs that were smaller than him. These dudes on defense are a completely different animal from the guys he faced in the mid 50’s-60s.

  44. bearsoxass says: Apr 4, 2014 2:36 PM

    Eddie lacy, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, Lesean Mc Coy, Jamaal Charles.

  45. favoritefootballteamrelatedname says: Apr 4, 2014 2:37 PM

    This guy needs a coke and a smile! If they ever decide to make a Grumpy Old Men 3 give this guy a call on his rotary phone!

  46. freepretzels says: Apr 4, 2014 2:40 PM

    Brown ran a 10.13 100 yard dash, so I think his speed would have held up. They didn’t run 40s in his day.

  47. iceburgskin202 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:41 PM

    AP would’ve ran for 3200 back then!

  48. chicagosports2014 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:41 PM

    Most of them have no HEART!

  49. jrob23 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:43 PM

    Jim Brown wasn’t as good as Jim Brown and the media machine wants you to think. The man ran behind the best line in football. When he missed games his replacements out rushed him. When he left, his replacement did better. When he left college it was Ernie Davis that won the Heisman. Nobody is denying Brown was good. However his ability was more about size and speed than running ability. I am not sure he would be top 10 RB let alone greatest football player people always throw around. If you don’t believe me…google it. His replacements matched or exceeded his production. But I bet you never heard that before because they didn’t make movies and hang out with Casius Clay

  50. heymister24 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:44 PM

    Jim is saying how do you know anyone is great if you take him out on 3rd down. As to the increase in size of players, adrian didn’t notice.

  51. bobzilla1001 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:46 PM

    The dink-and-dunk passing game has devalued the running game. Does Jim Brown even watch football?

  52. flannlv says: Apr 4, 2014 2:48 PM

    I like all of those people saying Jim Brown wouldn’t be that good in today’s NFL. Have you ever stopped to think that the Jim Brown we saw then would have the same training and care that the players have today? He was/is the best back ever.

  53. rtwoj says: Apr 4, 2014 2:48 PM

    Oh yeah, Mr. Brown…

    There IS that guy who is currently the NFL’s all-time leader in career yards-per-carry average among running backs.

    What’s his name?

    He’s got like 2 first names… OH! Jamaal Charles!

  54. mclovin07 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:51 PM

    So glad this turn was WAYYYY before my time. Cuz he sure is a JERK.

  55. psmith7716 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:53 PM

    Jim Brown has always had a nasty (yes, and grouchy) disposition. With that being said, he was a joy to watch running the ball. He was one of the best (maybe THE best) I have ever seen.

  56. crewchief15 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:58 PM

    Also Jim Brown would have the modern training facilities and training year round. Hard to compare era’s without adding the variables. Theres a reason players have gotten bigger and faster, it’s the evolution of training and injury management. Oh and massive Money to develope players help…

  57. drdoom82 says: Apr 4, 2014 2:58 PM

    Go back to making B movies no one wants to see, old fart

  58. noleitup says: Apr 4, 2014 2:59 PM

    Look out for Karlos Williams in 2015. Dude is an AP clone. Its not because im a nole fan either i swear it. Dude is a beast

  59. rajbais says: Apr 4, 2014 2:59 PM

    As an extension of the Browns organization watching Trent Richardson will cause you to say such a thing.

    On average, T-rich couldn’t out produce vick ballard when both were rookies.

  60. surfinbird1 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:00 PM

    1. Jim Brown
    2. Walter Payton
    3. Barry Sanders
    4. Earl Campbell
    5. O.J. Simpson
    6. Eric Dickerson
    7. Gale Sayers
    8. Emmitt Smith
    9. Marshall Faulk
    10. Marcus Allen.

  61. steves11 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:03 PM

    Running backs don’t get as many touches today as they did in Jim Brown’s era because management is scared to death that their $10 million a year superstar is going to get hurt, so they limit their touches.

  62. poridge1214 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:05 PM

    AP
    Lynch
    Gore

  63. jvande102 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:12 PM

    I think Jim Brown took too many shots to the head while playing because he obviously has forgotten about Adrian Peterson.

    As a Bears fan, I’ve grown tired of our own complaining old man in Gale Sayers.

  64. tommyribs says: Apr 4, 2014 3:13 PM

    Jim Brown would be the best RB in the league if he played today, or if he played in the 1920s.

    5.2 YPC lifetime!

    And there are not a lot of great RBs in the league now, I agree with him there. The position has been totally de-Emphasized.

    Adrian Peterson is the only guy who does it year in and year out. Lynch is an excellent back too.

    After that. you have guys like Arian Foster, MJD and C2.9K who can’t produce now that they have the carries on them.

  65. tampabaybucs20 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:15 PM

    Their is one his name is Doug Martin.

  66. BigBlueDomination2014 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:15 PM

    Rashad Jennings will show the NFL what an elite runner looks like this season, you can’t stop him, just get out of his way and save yourself the embarrassment

  67. cshel41 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:25 PM

    Mores specifically, there are only 5 RB’s that can be successful anywhere in the league and therefore are designated as MUST Start.

    AP
    Lynch
    Gore
    Charles
    Forte

    Alfred Morris & Lacy MAYBE a strong maybe and thats because AP raises the bar that high, and Lacy isn’t even as consistent as Morris. Do not insult AP remove McCoy from your top3’s and top 5’s.

    McCoy is just OK in Philly’s scheme, send him to Pittsburgh he lasts maybe a year put him in the AFC he lasts maybe a year

  68. afcdomination says: Apr 4, 2014 3:25 PM

    Jamaal Charles. amazing yard per carry avg that one season had jim brown beat if it wasn’t for losing 2 on the final terrible play. he is arguably the best pass blocking HB in football, one of the biggest threats in the pass game catching the ball as well. not just a homerun threat but can also power for tough yards. if it wasn’t for that early injury that removed a season, and the 6 plays in “concussion” against the colts he would have a much better reputation and a much better chance at having some pretty unbelievable numbers

  69. badmoonrison says: Apr 4, 2014 3:29 PM

    More negativity coming from cranky old Jim Brown. Is anyone surprised? All these retired players just can’t say anything positive. Yes I’m talking to you Irvin, Rice, Steve young and Chris Carter.

  70. dawsonleery says: Apr 4, 2014 3:29 PM

    With the way the NFL is going there won’t be any RBs left. All these high school/college kids will want to be WRs.

  71. godofwine330 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:32 PM

    There is AP, Beast Mode, my man in KC Charles, but that is it. No one else is great, and you could argue at least one of the last two is not great. I hate talk of people acting as if he is just a crochety old man and his opinion doesn’t matter. He said that Richardson was average and the world got in a tizzy…and then it was discovered that he was right. He knows RB talent and there is no doubt that recently the talent level has declined. It is also true that the position has been de-emphasized.

  72. vik3z says: Apr 4, 2014 3:33 PM

    you guys are missing his point. there are no GREAT running backs left (besides AD)

    theres adrian peterson who is from another planet and in a league of his own and then theres the rest.

  73. whatjusthapped says: Apr 4, 2014 3:34 PM

    Not only is Adrian Peterson a great runner, he’s a great father too! That is if he can only get his baby mama’s to get around to telling him that he is the father to their child.

  74. boyshole25 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:44 PM

    Jim brown was the biggest fastest guy on the field. Today he wouldn’t even get a d1 scholarship.

  75. dtlb58 says: Apr 4, 2014 3:59 PM

    Jamaal Charles

  76. tebowislife says: Apr 4, 2014 4:00 PM

    Jim Brown, the poor man’s Bo Jackson.

  77. txraiderfan says: Apr 4, 2014 4:00 PM

    Didn’t Leroy Kelly put up almost identical #’s with Cleveland after JB retired?

  78. erock0129 says: Apr 4, 2014 4:02 PM

    As a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan, I respect Mr. Brown and I am a fan. I seems to me he was right on with the Richardson thing when everyone thought he was being a jerk…he just says what’s on his mind, he doesn’t sugar coat his words….dude is old school….all that being said, yeah, it’s a shame he wouldn’t at least TRY to not appear so damned cranky…

  79. stonedolphin89 says: Apr 4, 2014 4:04 PM

    It’s ridiculous how many people doubt Jim Brown’s ability to play in this era.

    So yes, defensive players are bigger, stronger, and faster now. But Jim is bigger than most RB’s in today’s NFL as well. And a hell of a lot tougher.

    Keep in mind, Jim wasn’t some slouch taking advantage of an unathletic era. He’s a two sport athlete and regarded as possibly the BEST Lacross player of all time. He was a freak athlete by the standards of any era.

    He also averaged more than 100 yards a game over a TWELVE YEAR CAREER. No one does that.

    Don’t fool yourselves. Guys like Brown, Peyton, and Sanders would tear it up in any era. The sad part is, in this diminished RB era we live in Barry Sanders would finally get his goal line touches.

  80. warhammer420 says: Apr 4, 2014 4:04 PM

    I agree. Not many elite RB’s in the league right now. Lynch, McCoy, Peterson, Charles… um maybe toss Forte in the mix, cause he’s solid all around.

  81. 12thmanseattle says: Apr 4, 2014 4:09 PM

    Hes one hundred percent correct. In 20 years if you look back on this years crop of running backs honestly only one will probably be remembered with any real significance, and thats probably AP. Lynch and a few other guys(foster,charles,mccoy) are really really good, but not greats. With that being said, you can pretty much say that about any position all the time so i’m not really sure what point he was trying to make

  82. blackqbwhiterb says: Apr 4, 2014 4:15 PM

    I’m sorry but I’m just not as enamored of Adrian Peterson as most of the people talking on here seem to be… Great back yes absolutely but to me I would still think LaDainian Tomlinson is better… And I am in my mid 40s and I still believe Walter Payton is the greatest football player I have ever watched

  83. doubleogator says: Apr 4, 2014 4:18 PM

    An old friend of mine used to say “the older you get, the better you were”….with that being said, in my humble opinion, if Chuck Muncie would have had his head on straight he might have been the best ever.

  84. bensstinkyfingers says: Apr 4, 2014 4:20 PM

    Most don’t agree with Mr. Brown’s views, things he’s done in his personal life, but no one should question he was the greatest RB of all time. Sanders and Payton where up there, but Jim was the man that struck fear into defenders in his day. Peterson, is the closest thing our generation has had, and we’ll see how he closes out his career in comparison.

  85. bassplucker says: Apr 4, 2014 4:20 PM

    I’m tired of hearing from these bitter old coots like Jim Brown and Gale Sayers. You were great, we get that. The thing is, if a guy like Bo Jackson had stayed healthy enough to play 7 or 8 years of pro football full-time, nobody would even remember Brown and Sayers today.

  86. backdapack4evr says: Apr 4, 2014 4:20 PM

    Eddy lacy is pretty good!!

  87. SAV says: Apr 4, 2014 4:22 PM

    Jim Brown is correct, greatness in a RB is as rare as it gets. Jim Brown is the realest. Anyone who hates or doubts should do some work. When you are great you can spot great it’s easy to see when you’ve been it. I know because I am great at my profession and I always can spot a winner. I love JB’s opinions and Im not even a Brownie.

    Doesn’t anyone respect the opinions of a hardcore dude anymore?

  88. leatherface2012 says: Apr 4, 2014 4:29 PM

    JON KUHN FROM GREEN BAY

  89. duluthvikesfan says: Apr 4, 2014 4:43 PM

    He’s probably right. AP is the only runner playing today who’s name will be mentioned with the all time best when he is done. Jim Brown and Barry Sanders are on the list of greats, but Walter Payton was the greatest ever.

  90. billsfan1 says: Apr 4, 2014 4:47 PM

    Technically, the organization that he played for is in Baltimore….

    Does the city of CLeveland even care what he has to say anymore?

  91. celticsforever says: Apr 4, 2014 4:50 PM

    Lots of good names mentioned here, but no Alfred Morris? He’s a stud too.

  92. Robert says: Apr 4, 2014 4:53 PM

    Who is Jim Brown? Overrated , couldn’t make in this time frame, critiques to much. Needs to find a hobby or a female to bully.

    J. Brown would be destroyed if he played today.

    I remember when he tried out with L.A. Raiders for a comeback, and appeared on Sports Illustrated. lol

    Cleveland still sucks Jim. They are in Baltimore wining Super bowls and playoff games and have a superior coach and leadership that is bent on winning.

    What does the new Cleveland Browns, a wish list of players they would like, but would rather play in JacksonVILE.

    Going after Desean Jackson was an insult as well.

    Johnny Manziel will not be a Brown, that is also an insult to him.

    He pull an Elway or Eli if the Browns draft him.

    How’s that for critiquing J. Brown?

    Now go away.

    Cleveland Browns will always be bottom feeders.

    Artie Modell was one of the best owners ever, and it was not his fault for moving the team, it was Cleveland’s.

    Cleveland Browns Fans simply can’t handle the truth.

  93. jbaxt says: Apr 4, 2014 5:07 PM

    Larry Johnson > Jim Brown. That’s exactly who Jimbo ran like. If LJ would’ve been around back then he’d be the same ass that Jinny is now.

  94. khmer379 says: Apr 4, 2014 5:08 PM

    Eddie Lacy is overrated and will be a one hit wonder #Facts

  95. eddiek77 says: Apr 4, 2014 5:10 PM

    It’s sad to see sports legends struggle to stay relevant after their playing days have ended. Basketball has Michael Jordan but for over 40 years, football has had Jim Brown.
    Let’s make the obligatory statement: Brown was an all time great who could likely still play today…
    There. Happy, Jim?
    Isn’t there a card game somewhere that could use you?

  96. bearsfan4life says: Apr 4, 2014 5:15 PM

    His Barry Sanders comments are spot on.

    You don’t take the your best guy off the field on the most important plays.

    I never understood that.

  97. rolltide510 says: Apr 4, 2014 5:21 PM

    I don’t blame Jim Brown for thinking he’s the greatest that ever has and ever will play the game, that’s simple narcissism.

    It’s the people today who agree with him. Dude played against fat and slow guys who worked second jobs during the offseason and smoked cigarettes in the locker room at halftime. Why have you decided this guy would dominate the modern NFL.

    Do you think Don Hutson would be the best wide receiver if he played today too?

  98. redwings248 says: Apr 4, 2014 5:32 PM

    Barry sanders!

  99. ghost26 says: Apr 4, 2014 5:36 PM

    ‘….The game has changed and running backs have been devalued since Brown retired half a century ago. But Jim Brown would be a great player in any era.”

    The game might have changed w/ more emphasis on throwing the football but I couldn’t agree more w/ Jim Brown. RB’s have been devalued b/c most of them can’t stay healthy & are not true ‘work horse’ backs like Frank Gore or Peterson or Lynch who can carry an offense. I like offenses that put the emphasis on running the ball & that can jam the ball down the other team’s throats

    Every single year people go on & on about the QB’s & the passing game & the number of fantasy points etc. but at the end of the day if you can’t run the ball & you can’t stop the run you’re not going to win a SB.

  100. dirtydrynn27 says: Apr 4, 2014 5:44 PM

    Alfred Morris

  101. v2787 says: Apr 4, 2014 5:55 PM

    Jim Brown was the greatest runner–and possibly the greatest pure athlete, period–to ever play in the NFL. What a stud that guy was! Speed, power–he had it all and then some. If he were playing today, he’d still be the best. Adrian Peterson is a great, great runner. So was Barry Sanders. However, Jim Brown was and always will be numero uno.

  102. steelpalace302 says: Apr 4, 2014 5:58 PM

    Ghost Jim Brown wouldn’t even make a current roster. Stop living in the past he was slow fat and lazy he wouldn’t NEVER even be on a team today

  103. rrthomasxyz says: Apr 4, 2014 6:08 PM

    The reason why backs don’t get the ball as much as he did is because the passing game is better, defenses are bigger, better and faster, and more quarterbacks are becoming more mobile—-not because backs aren’t better. Hey Jim, the first 4 years of your career, you had only 12 game seasons; the last 6 were 14. In football 16 games is much more taxing than 14 or 12. Today the game is so tough that a back has only a lifespan in the nfl is 3-5 years. You last 10 because defenders were smaller and slower.

  104. leatherface2012 says: Apr 4, 2014 6:13 PM

    how about ryan leaf? he ran like 3 times in 1 game!!

  105. shadylamp says: Apr 4, 2014 6:19 PM

    Anyone who put AP over Barry Sanders, and OJ Simpson have obviously never seen these 2 run in their lives. AP has long way to go before he even cracks into my top 5:

    1.) Jim Brown
    2.) Sweetness (Walter Payton)
    3.) Barry Sanders
    4.) OJ Simpson
    5.) Eric Dickerson or Earl Cambell.. toss up.

  106. skins359 says: Apr 4, 2014 6:29 PM

    Brown is one of those rare few that I believe could succeed in todays NFL as he was during his prime. Certainly he wouldn’t be nearly as effective, but definitely more then capable of pulling his own weight.

    Of course as others have alluded to if you give him the training and nutrition going in that todays athletes you would probably have a monster on your hands.

  107. fdugrad says: Apr 4, 2014 6:35 PM

    I truly believe Mr. Brown would be a GREAT rb now and in any era. He was a tremendous athlete in pretty much ANY sport. I also truly know that he was a MAN among boys when he played. He was as big or close as large as linemen in his day, and as for DBS, he swatted them off like so many flies. Still, it was amazing to watch him run back in the day when I was a boy.

  108. jjfootball says: Apr 4, 2014 7:02 PM

    JIM BROWN LOVES HIMSELF SOME HIM!
    NEVER SEEN SOMEONE TALK SO MUCH ABOUT HOW GREAT HE WAS, THE WORD HUMBLE IS NOT IN HIS VOCABULARY!

  109. jjfootball says: Apr 4, 2014 7:04 PM

    ENOUGH OF JIM BROWN ALREADY.

  110. Andre's Johnson says: Apr 4, 2014 7:16 PM

    I’m pretty sure he also told the interviewer to “get off my lawn,” “speak up boy,” and “son pull your pants up.”

  111. bcgreg says: Apr 4, 2014 7:45 PM

    C’mon, folks. Eddie Lacy, Steven Jackson, and Doug Martin are not great.

    Adrian Peterson is the only truly great RB today. The only one who is a lock HOFer.

    While I truly enjoy watching Marshawn Lynch, he is barely in the conversation for the HOF let alone being in consideration for it. McCoy is closer than Lynch, but no lock. Gore, no. Steven Jackson, no.

    If Arian Foster can get over his 2013 injuries and have 4 more years in line with 2010-12, then he has a chance to be considered a great. When he is on, Arian Foster is just as good as Peterson.

    And, that’s it. Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster.

  112. skins359 says: Apr 4, 2014 7:45 PM

    @shadylamp – 7 Should be Marshall Faulk. Few modern Running backs combined dominance and versatility as he did. I mean how many backs in history have four 2,000 yard seasons from scrimmage? Or a 1,000 yard season as a receiver while still managing over a 1,000+ yards on the ground?

    Regardless I feel like Faulk gets left out all to often when people speak of the greatest RB’s of all time.

  113. atheisticemetic says: Apr 4, 2014 8:00 PM

    I understand the league has changed, but I’m slightly obligated to agree with him.

    Not disrespecting AP, Charles or the kind, but the rules have made it a more pass friendly offense.

    With that said, the running game even if utilized less, has to evolve to adapt to the changes, and I haven’t seen running backs blow the doors back since the change.

    Give me a reason to name 7 great (not good) running backs currently, and i’ll give you a reason to disagree with him.

  114. darcrequiem says: Apr 4, 2014 8:06 PM

    Alfred Morris get’s no respect. The guy has nearly 2900 yards rushing over his first two seasons.

  115. gbatap says: Apr 4, 2014 8:30 PM

    There’s this guy in KC who’s pretty good. Something like the highest yards per carry in the history of the game and doesn’t even come out on 3rd down.

  116. frankecharms says: Apr 4, 2014 8:40 PM

    The Chiefs have a running back right now that averages more per carry than Brown, Suck it Jim.

  117. philtration says: Apr 4, 2014 8:59 PM

    I got to see Walter Payton and Michael Jordan play in person several times and hundreds of other times on T.V. here in Chicago so I am jaded.

    I have seen the best ever and most of the other “greats” pale by comparison.

  118. odawg31 says: Apr 4, 2014 9:06 PM

    Let me school you kids on who this man is. Jim Brown is the GOAT. Greatest Of All Time for RB’s. If he’s not number one. he’s a close second to Sweetness Walter Payton. If he was playing today he and Peterson would be the only work horse RB’s that get 20 carries a game. He would be the number 1 pick in every Fantasy Football leagues and Peterson would be 2nd. I can tell this guy was the original Superman, Beastmode, and the BeesNees. He’s wrong about great RB’s because Peterson and Charles are going to be one of the greats when its all said and done. He’s old and went through struggles most of us can’t imagine so he gets a pass. THIS MAN PAVED THE WAY FOR A LOT OF BLACK ATHLETES! RESPECT!

  119. zraskovich says: Apr 4, 2014 9:43 PM

    Imagine AP running on the undersized defenders that Brown ran all over….my word….they would’ve changed the rules a long time ago.

  120. steelerdeathstar says: Apr 4, 2014 9:45 PM

    Any player has to be judged on the era in which they played. If Jim Brown played today, he’d probably be bigger, stronger, and faster even than he was with modern weight training, diet, etc.
    That said, Jim Brown played in an era when the seasons were shorter, he was rarely asked to catch the ball out of the backfield or to block, and didn’t play as many years as some, even with those shorter seasons. So, while he was a great player for sure, he wasn’t the greatest RB of all time. That was probably Walter Payton.

  121. gammynomnom says: Apr 4, 2014 9:45 PM

    In todays NFL with all the schemes to stop the run and players being much bigger, stronger and faster, Jim Brown would be more like Trent Richardson than Jim Brown.

    Just another old guy yelling for the kids to get off his lawn. Yawn.

  122. trapshoot says: Apr 4, 2014 10:55 PM

    Anybody really care what Browns says or thinks?

  123. queeflatifah says: Apr 4, 2014 11:42 PM

    Lamar miller could’ve averaged 5.2 yds a carry against theddefenses Jim brown ran against…..shut your hole Muhammad

  124. joescan54 says: Apr 4, 2014 11:49 PM

    Jim Brown was the greatest runner of all time. He would dominate today. Even though he would be smaller than the d-backs, not bigger than the lbs. He would be an average runner. Not fast enough. Twelve games a season vs sixteen. Totally different game.

  125. jaygruntboston says: Apr 5, 2014 6:37 AM

    and you wont be able to find out how good any of them are, because they don’t get the ball enough. Blount going to get some carries from the Steelers this year, after he’ll be a top back. Peterson. Lynch. Forte. Charles. Brown’s right it doesn’t go too far. its going to go in a cycle. 5-6 years from now you’ll see backs tearing it up again, because no team will be ready for running game again.

  126. rukkus1 says: Apr 5, 2014 6:38 AM

    If I was drafting a multi generational team… my rb would be Sanders, Sweetness, Peterson, or Dickerson. Sorry Jimbo.

  127. jaygruntboston says: Apr 5, 2014 6:43 AM

    O.J Simpson was the best ever. Only player to get 2000 yards in 14 games.

  128. lscratchingthesurface says: Apr 5, 2014 11:07 AM

    Jim Brown was a great back! Jamaal Charles is my favorite as a Chiefs fan! But Jamaal never gets greedy or complains. He is like Brown in helping his team any way he can. I admire that most of all.

  129. rho1953 says: Apr 5, 2014 1:45 PM

    Brown was great, but so was a guy named Taylor in Green Bay. It isn’t that there aren’t great RB’s anymore. The rules and the defenses have tilted the playing field. Brown couldn’t be dominant in today’s game.

  130. saintsly says: Apr 5, 2014 3:22 PM

    Not one mention of Bo Jackson, who I think was better than Jim Brown. I would even put Jim Taylor and Earl Campbell above him also. Jim Brown just loves to blow his own horn and thinks no one is as good as he was. Legend in his own mind.

  131. bittersportspills says: Apr 5, 2014 3:38 PM

    Jim Brown is the greatest running back in NFL history.

    That said, he’s also trashed some of the greatest running backs in NFL history.

    Running back is steadily devalued for two reasons: 1-It’s really difficult for a lead back to keep from suffering injuries to the point they have diminished effectiveness. 2-By devaluing running backs and slanting the game to passing attacks, it’s a skill position NFL teams can pay less.

    The only running backs with real value are the Darren Sproles types who are excellent receivers in their own right, and those who can pass protect.

    It’s a deception, though. Of the four teams in conference championship games last season, three of them were definitely focused on the ground game.

  132. fanme57 says: Apr 6, 2014 4:53 PM

    nobody surpassed 3000 yards until 1960, over halfway through Brown’s career.

    College defenses are now much more complex than what the NFL team were running during Brown’s career.

    The last 7 season passing yardage leaders have AVERAGED 5069 yards….nobody even surpassed 3000 yards passing until 1960, over halfway through Brown’s career.

    The game has changed…running back value is at a low point, but will likely rebound.

  133. amanfroni says: Apr 6, 2014 11:09 PM

    Most of you rocket scientists either weren’t alive or too young to remember Jim Brown. As a football coach for the past 34 years I will say that those of you who say the game has changed, you are right it has. Yes , defensive backs are stronger and faster and so are linebackers but they are also bigger pu&%ys . Players today are out three weeks for a case of hemroids. You never saw that when he played. The game has also put much more emphasis on the pass. BUT, there has never been an athlete in the NFL who has dominated so completely as a running back for the entire time he played. Jim Brown was a punishing running back! He didn’t try to bob and weave, he ran over people. Most people believe that he retired too early after only 9 years. But if you look at what he did in 9 years playing a shorter 14 game season his stats are over the top. At 6’2 232lbs he was chiseled. His thighs were almost 32″ which is as big as a lot of peoples waists. His 40 time was 4.5 fast for a big man by even todays standards. Look at how many years it took for a running back to surpass his 12,000 yard mark playing 16 games! I have personally met him twice and got to talk football with him. He was probably in his mid 50s when I first met him and his physical presence was incredible. He looked as if he could strap on the pads and teach some kids a lesson. He truly was an incredible athlete. Could he play in todays NFL? Absolutely! An athlete like him? They would build their team and their offense around him. Is he opinionated? yes ! But he sees an NFL that has gotten soft. He sees a bunch of sniveling backs and receivers that are treated like pet air dales instead of men. Yes the game has changed. But those of you who don’t think he was the greatest running back ever to play the game have no idea what your talking about !! You have to look at the whole picture. He retired in 9 years with over 12,000 yards! How many more thousands could he have racked up if he had stayed? He started every game during his career which is a testament to his physical condition. He was All Pro 8 times in his career and MVP 3. When you look at the overall picture of Jim Browns impact in the NFL. He IS the greatest running back of all time.

  134. madroaddog says: Apr 8, 2014 9:32 AM

    Bo Jackson may not have the records but he is the best RB of all times.

  135. madroaddog says: Apr 8, 2014 9:35 AM

    Jim Brown is a close second but he is definitely the toughest RB of all time.

  136. sharks123 says: Apr 8, 2014 2:25 PM

    Not a fan of Brown but he didn’t really go out on a limb here. Great runners are a dying breed.

  137. vikingcheesegrater says: Apr 10, 2014 9:40 PM

    Jim Brown would be a horrible running back if he were playing today. He is way too old.

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