Jim Brown was one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. He was the face of the Cleveland Browns long after he retired. But after ripping the team for what he deemed questionable personnel moves, Brown has not been a part of the Browns’ organization for a few years now.
In fact, Brown was an advisor to Browns owner Randy Lerner until he was fired back in 2010. After that parting, Brown declined an invitation to attend the Browns’ Ring of Honor ceremony later that year, and has openly ripped the team’s moves ever since that point.
“I think that the owner, and I have to be very candid with you, is trying to turn all the power over to someone else. I don’t think that’s possible,” Brown said. “I think that the owner is ultimately going to be the leader and I think until Randy takes that position, it’s going to be difficult.”
Brown was not happy or impressed by Cleveland’s selection of Trent Richardson in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and he pulled no punches in his criticisms of Lerner and the organization. He also went on to discuss the role of team president Mike Holmgren.
“Holmgren is a fine executive, but he is not the owner, and I think the players know that. So I think the players feel that they don’t have that top dog sitting there in that office so they can feel that they have great leadership from the top. There’s always a question mark when your owner is in England.”
But it is Holmgren who is reaching out to Brown in hopes that he can end the feud.
“I would like Jim Brown to come and be a part of this and feel comfortable doing that,” Holmgren said. “I would welcome him with open arms.”
Brown, to his part, seemed at least somewhat receptive to the idea.
“If that’s what Holmgren said, it just shows a lot of class on his part,” Brown said. “I’ve always been attracted to anyone who has the class to reach out.”
Brown has always been open about his feelings of everyone and everything – both positive and negative. It may be in everyone’s best interests for Brown to end the feud with the team and the city, and taking some of the spotlight off of people who are no longer playing or coaching for the team, and put it back on the players, which is where it belongs.
While it is nowhere near the same amount of years, many people are comparing this feud to the one that took Yogi Berra 14 years to return to the New York Yankees. After being fired as the team’s manager, Berra stated he would never return to Yankee Stadium, not as long as George Steinbrenner owned the team. But after 14 years, Berra was able to put aside his feud with Steinbrenner, and it was a positive thing for everyone related to the organization.
Maybe the same will hold true for the Browns one day soon. If it does, Cleveland will be asking one simple question.
What can Brown do for you?
Only time will tell.