Jim Brown Cleveland Browns
"Yardage isn’t the big thing. Having your team win the championship is…That’s what I work for, winning the championship, and this requires a certain standard of performance.”
Jim Brown was a superb craftsman whose primary job was to run with the football for the Cleveland Browns. For nine seasons, he did it better than any player before him. When he retired at the age of 30 at the peak of his career, he left behind a record book clogged with Jim Brown notations.
Brown was more than just a one-of-a-kind running back. He caught passes, returned kickoffs, and even threw three touchdown passes. His 12,312 rushing yards and 15,459 combined net yards put him in a then-class by himself. Jim was a unanimous first-team All-NFL pick eight times, 1957 through 1961, 1963-1965. He played in nine Pro Bowls in nine years and was the game’s outstanding back three times. He closed out his career with a three-touchdown outburst in the 1966 Pro Bowl.
Brown was unanimously named the Rookie of the Year in 1957. He was recognized that season as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player by many media organizations. In all, he earned league MVP honors four times (1957, 1958, 1963, and 1965). At Syracuse University, Brown was All-America in both football and lacrosse and a letterman in basketball. Jim selected football as his career sport, however, and thus became the Cleveland Browns' number 1 draft pick in 1957. Even though coach Paul Brown was traditionally reluctant to use rookies as regulars, Jim Brown was a regular and a star from day one.
In the summer of 1966, Jim stunned the sports world with his announcement that he was retiring. Fans still ponder what heights he might have reached had he stayed on the firing line a few more seasons. As exceptional as Brown's statistics were, his durability may have been even more amazing. Despite a constant pounding from defenses always stacked against him personally, he never missed a game in nine years.