Jim Brown dies at 87

Cleveland Browns
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Jim Brown, the Cleveland Browns running back who has frequently been named as the greatest player in the history of professional football, has died at the age of 87.

Brown played nine NFL seasons and led the league in rushing in eight of them, he was a Pro Bowler every year, and he was named league MVP three times. In 1964 Brown led the Browns to the NFL championship, the last time the Browns won a league title. Brown retired with 12,312 rushing yards and 106 touchdowns, both NFL records, and he averaged an astonishing 5.2 yards per carry.

Brown was an extraordinary all-around athlete who was a high school star in football, basketball, baseball, track and lacrosse. At Syracuse he played football, basketball, track and lacrosse — and some observers of his college athletic prowess said he was even better at lacrosse than he was at football.

After his Syracuse career, Brown went to the Browns with the sixth overall pick in the 1957 NFL draft and he instantly made an enormous impact, winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award as a rookie. He also won league MVP in his first season, and in his last season. He never had a down year, being named first-team All-Pro in eight of his nine seasons and second-team All-Pro the other year.

The football world was shocked when Brown announced his retirement after the 1965 season, saying that he could make more money acting in movies than he could in the NFL. Brown was one of the stars of The Dirty Dozen in 1967 and would star in 100 Rifles in 1969. After a decade in Hollywood he drifted away from acting and had pursuits as varied as starting the Amer-I-Can program to deter young men from getting involved in street gangs, and serving as the color commentator on the first UFC broadcast.

Brown will be remembered among the greatest athletes of American history.

120 responses to “Jim Brown dies at 87

  1. RIP to a legend. Jim Brown was a star on the field and on the screen. He was a generational talent that also gave back to the public with his time and programs. Not many in this league now like he was. He will be missed.

  2. “Wait a second! Wait a second! You got a .45 revolver that holds six bullets! Now, I counted at least twenty shots and you never reloaded!”

    “That’s right.”

    R.I.P. Hammer. Maybe the best all around football player ever.

  3. Greatest RB of all time. Reast easy Brown knowing your opponents never did

  4. Dammit…… Had to know it would happen sometime, but still hits hard. Not just the greatest football player of all time, but arguably the greatest athlete period. Never be another like him. Supposedly, the greatest lacrosse player in history too and that is just an afterthought now. Sports world is a lesser place without him.

  5. A true legend! Kids of today should have to take a jim brown class in school. Not always right but just a man of the people and times.

  6. Oh, my – the greatest football player I’ve ever seen, and the gap between him and everyone else is huge. I am deeply saddened.

  7. One of first “Great” professional football players that helped put football on the map. RIP.

    Also he was great in the “Mars Attacks!” movie

  8. One of the greatest-EVER-.Condolences to his family and his legion of fans.
    You were one of a kind. RIP, sir.

  9. RIP sir and my condolences to the Brown family.

  10. Arguably the greatest player ever. Probably is based on comments I’ve heard from people his age who saw him and everyone else play.


  11. He endured everything & more compared to the current player. He’s definitely Mt. Rushmore of the NFL.

  12. I’ve been watching football since 1959 and Jim Brown was the best player I’ve ever seen.

  13. RIP to one of the greatest of all-time in any sport!!! He was just as good as a humanitarian as he was an athlete.

  14. Such a great player and ambassador for the league. RIP #32, you’ll be missed.

  15. As a young kid, not living in an NFL town, we had one game televised every Sunday, in black and white, no replays, only one camera angle. Cleveland was very competitive in those times so their games were televised often along with the Packers and Colts. Jim Brown was simply a superb running back and he never wore hip pads. He was notorious for slowly getting up off the ground after he was tackled, leaving us all to speculate whether he was injured. Nope. He simply lined up again and ripped off another four or five yards. Tough as nails. Although I hate to declare someone as the G.O.A.T. I have to say that he was one of the best, if not the best I ever saw. Rest in peace, sir.

  16. Some try to say you don’t have a long enough career at 8 or 9 years. Jim Brown shuts up that argument without a second thought. He was one of those guys you figure could live forever. RIP.

  17. RIP Jim Brown. You will be remembered fondly by most NFL fans, especially DIEHARD Browns fans like myself, where being a Browns fan is a family tradition that started with my late father and grandfather when they both moved up to Cleveland from North Carolina in 1953. I remember both of them singing his praises all the way back as far as I can remember, around 1971. Or

  18. One of the coolest things was when Brown at 47 was on the cover of SI in a Raiders uniform ready to come out of retirement if Franco beat his all time rushing record.Also cool was when he ran a 4.2 dropping all those grenades in the German air shafts

  19. Rest in Peace, Mr. Brown. You will definitely be remembered as an all time great on the field, and a man of your convictions off the field.

  20. You gotta be one bad dude to be an All-American in football & lacrosse.

  21. I’m in my 70’s and my father was a Browns season ticket holder. Saw Brown play live many times as a young boy. When doing all time rankings and comparisons, keep in mind Jim Brown accomplished what he did in 12 games seasons over only a 9 year career. Lotsa great RB’s in NFL history. #32 was a dominant force.

  22. I met Jim Brown at Ernie Davis statue dedication I shook his hand and patted him on the arm it was like touching a rock. I told my son it was like the man was chiseled out of a rock.

  23. Why do people put thumbs down on something like this. A great athlete has passed away, have some respect!

  24. Awesome on the football field and awesome as Jefferson in the Dirty Dozen. RIP Jim Brown.

  25. A lot of women in the afterlife afterlife afterlife are avoiding windows right now

  26. Man, what a freaking legend. RIP and condolences to the family and the entire NFL.

  27. packerswin96 says:
    May 19, 2023 at 3:43 pm
    RIP Mr. Brown.

    When people give a thumbs down to the above comment is living proof that society is on a downward trend.

  28. A legend, one of the NFL ‘s very best. Would run over you, around you or through you. RIP Mr Brown. Condolences to the Brown family.

  29. Great multi sports athlete. Not much of an actor. Bit of a curmudgeon.

  30. A different era when Jim Brown, Jim Taylor, one or two others purposely looked for defenders to get in their way so they could run over them.

  31. I simply cannot understand why anyone would press the down arrow in response to a comment that Jim Brown Rest In Peace.


  32. I’m a 78 year old lifelong Giants fan. Even with our great defense, Jim Brown could not be stopped. The greatest running back I’ve ever seen and it is even close. God rest #32!

  33. There’s a video online of the 1957 NFL Championship Game between the Lions and Browns. I remember watching it, and seeing rookie Jim Brown dominating the Lions, but the Browns only used him a little (probably because he was a rookie). The Lions won 59-14, although Brown scored one of the Browns only 2 td’s, on a 29 yard run. If I was the Browns coach, the Lions would have gotten a brutal dose of Jim Brown all day long. RIP Mr. Brown. We all knew who would have won that day.

  34. “packmangamble says:
    May 19, 2023 at 4:15 pm
    Why do people put thumbs down on something like this. A great athlete has passed away, have some respect!”___________________________________________________________________________________
    Because of his legal issues.

  35. What a warrior! A wonderful, full and interesting life, well lived. Sleep well, sir. You have earned your rest.

  36. In the inner sanctum of great sports heroes, there is Jim Thorpe and Jim Brown. I met him once. He was in his 80’s, body bent over, using a cane. I reflexively bent over so my eyes were below his that was the respect he earned. My Dad sold beer at muni stadium in the 50’s and said he was the greatest athlete he ever saw. I knew him more for his social justice work. He was a giant in so many ways. He was a man among men wherever he went. RIP

  37. From the Washington Post. The game referred to was in 1961: ‘The Redskins were the only one of 14 National Football League teams not to hire black players — and their owner, George Preston Marshall, was bent on keeping his team all white. Perhaps Marshall’s most famous critic was Shirley Povich, longtime sports editor of The Washington Post. Povich often referred in print to the Redskins’ colors as “burgundy, gold and Caucasian.” In a column, he observed that “Jim Brown integrated the Redskins’ end zone three times yesterday.”‘

  38. No Conversation of the GOAT in the NFL is valid without including Jim Brown


  39. God bless a battering ram of a player. Amazing he lived so long and did so much, after so many collisions.

  40. “We won’t see the likes of him again. Thank God”. Signed the rest of the NFL.

  41. Hopefully we have a national holiday in the future to remember this true icon.
    I’m so sad. 🙁

  42. Jim Brown running while John “Voice of Doom” Facenda provided the narration on NFL films. That will always be one of my earliest football memories. And I remember the racist furor when he was in “100 Rifles” with Raquel Welch. Wish I could say it seems silly now. Jim Brown did things his way, and he was great. RIP.

  43. When people give a thumbs down to the above comment is living proof that society is on a downward trend.
    I don’t use the thumbs but I gotta say, you’re jumping to a heck of a conclusion there. Perhaps it’s because Mr. Brown had several incidents of beating his wives, accused of rape, etc. Some people don’t like to celebrate a man like that just because he was good at sports.

  44. If y’all want to see a GREAT movie, that was also one of his earliest, check out “Tick Tick Tick.” It’s free on You Tube.

  45. Possibly even more of an Icon off the field than on it, and he was one of the best RBs of all time!

  46. Do not mention the acronym GOAT without letting his name at least come out of your mouth. He absolutely dominated his time, running over people. I saw him often then on B&W TV (yes I am old). He also showed that a black man could define his own destiny. All people should respect the person no matter what the statistics. 5.2 YPC, ridiculous.

  47. GOAT

    For all of the young utes out there, check out his grenade run in the blowing the Chateau scene in The Dirty Dozen (which, by the way, had one of the all-time greatest male casts in history).

  48. Look at all the sad pathetic little people downvoting condolences.

    RIP Mr Brown. You earned it.

  49. If Art Modell wasn’t such a complete and total tool Jim Brown would have had a longer career (and the Browns would still be in Cleveland.)

    RIP, Jim Brown. You are a legend.

  50. In my opinion, there will never be another player of Jim Brown’s equal. He was simply the greatest. Ernie Davis might have been able to fill Jim Brown’s shoes, but Mr. Davis met an untimely early, early death.
    Jim Brown is/was my favorite NFL player…the greatest NFL player of all time…PERIOD!
    I was oh so sad when he retired after only nine seasons…

  51. My father took me to visit my Grandfather. Colts with Johnny Unitas and the Browns with Jim Brown were playing. That got me started on football.

  52. There is nothing wrong with praising the accomplishments of Jim Brown as an athlete, a civil rights pioneer and an actor, but as we have learned over and over again in the last decade accomplishments sometimes co-exist with violent and misogynist behavior and Brown was plagued with that his entire life, something he acknowledged. He was and perhaps still is the greatest NFL players but his abuse of women casts a cloud over all his accomplishments which should also be remembered.

  53. Lee Marvin , Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes,Clint walker,telly savalas amd most of the other boys are waiting to reunite the dirty dozen will live forever.

  54. I’m not going to comment on all those idiots who chose to down vote this legend of a man..Ma’am, Sirs you are entitle to your opinion, I see people comment on his acting career, he was once label Hollywood first black action hero after making the film 100 rifles in 1969..I see people commenting on his legal troubles in which there were many but one thing for sure he did things his way and made no apologies…he’s not perfect and I wonder how many of you are…thank you Mr James Nathaniel Brown for your contributions you have made to this world..Ok I’m ready for my down votes…

  55. He is the GOAT. He literally never missed a game in 9 years and averaged 104 yards rushing a game for his career. He was a bad mofo (in the best possible way), and that didn’t end on the field. He went on to be a superstar off the field, too. RIP.

  56. Half the people commenting on this guy didn’t know doodie about him

  57. brian laughlin says:
    May 19, 2023 at 7:18 pm

    He is the GOAT. He literally never missed a game in 9 years and averaged 104 yards rushing a game for his career. He was a bad mofo (in the best possible way), and that didn’t end on the field. He went on to be a superstar off the field, too. RIP.
    To me he might be the greatest player of all time at any position. He played violently on the field which made him dominant like no other RB before or since. Unfortunately he had major issues with containing that to the playing field. If a current player lived the way he lived off the field, they would be facing multiple suspensions for alleged physical and sexual assaults and would likely see their career implode ala an Aldon Smith or the way Ja Morant seems hell bent on going in the NBA.

  58. Greatest NFL player. Period.

    One of the top 3 all-around athletes of all time.

  59. As a kid in TX, I loved watching old NFL Films highlight shows on the rare occasions when I could find them. Brown just blew me away. Wish I could’ve watched him play in the day. To my knowledge, the only RB to average over 100 yards a game. I thought he was the greatest ever as a kid, and after watching NFL football for 50 years, and seeing some truly, truly amazing players, I can’t say I’ve changed my mind. Brown was a good part of why I fell in love with football. RIP Mr. Brown.

  60. I started following Pro football in 1969 and quickly learned the mystique and domination Jim Brown had in the league, have never once saw him play, only in NFL films and to this day because of the way coaches and players speak of him, to me he will always be the best, he played 9 seasons and led the league 8 times in rushing. that is mind boggling in any era

  61. Much love and respect to Jim Brown. My dad, who has since passed away, would talk about Jim Brown like he came down from Mount Olympus to play with the mortals. The work he did with the gangs in LA and the civil rights movement was epic.

    Unfortunately, like all of us imperfect humans, he did some things that you wish your sports idols would not do.

    RIP JB. Cheers to you and your full life.

  62. Got a lot of yards against the Green Doormat’s aka Philadelphia Iggles !

  63. RIP Great One. Likely the greatest football player ever, and perhaps even a better man. A true American gem. One of my favorite heroes ever.

  64. Growing up in the asphalt jungle of South Los Angeles back in the day I witnessed the greatest player to ever wear a NFL uniform against the Rams in the Collseiuem. My father was a die hard Brown fan. When Jim Brown retired he shifted his alliance to the Dallas Cowboys with the emergence of Bob Hayes. The only player to win an Olympic gold metal and a Super Bowl ring.

  65. Sometimes its best to walk away before people say “what if he stayed in the league a few years longer?”

  66. He weighed 228 , the guys he played against, Andy Robustelli Giants HOF DE weighed 230, Gino Marchetti Colts HOF DE weighed 240 . Brown was a freak of nature ; A RB today would have to be 290 with 4.5 speed to be compared .

  67. Hall of Fame wing of the Hall of Fame. Greatest of all times didn’t need a td celebration or a pr representative.

  68. Syracuse resident for most of my 72 years whenSyracuse University was the premier college running back school .
    Jim Brown sitting at the top is the highest honor when you think of ……… Floyd Little , Jim Nance , Larry Csonka , Joe Morris , and of course the late Ernie Davis , the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy .

  69. My Pop, May he Rest In Peace wouldn’t hear any arguments. Jim Brown was the best football player ever and that was that.

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