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USA | May 19, 2023

Jim Brown, legendary NFL running back, dead at 87

/ Our Today

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Sep 22, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns hall of fame running back Jim Brown smiles while watching warmups before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Photo: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports via REUTERS)


Jim Brown, one of the greatest running backs in the history of the National Football League (NFL), who quit the game at the height of his career to act in Hollywood movies and add his voice to the civil rights movement, has died. He was 87.

Brown, dogged by allegations of violence against women over the decades though never convicted, died on Thursday night (May 18), his wife Monique Brown said on Instagram.

“To the world he was an activist, actor, and football star. To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken.” 

Josh Peter, writing in USA Today in April 2021, said Brown was “considered among the greatest football players in history and has been lauded for his activism and leadership in the Black community. But there’s the more troubling side involving women and alleged violence.”

Brown said he regretted some of his past behavior. “It’s happened, and I regret those times,” he said in his 1989 autobiography, referring to slapping women.

As an explosive fullback for the Cleveland Browns, he combined power, speed, intensity and size (6 feet 2 inches, 230 pounds) in a way not seen in the NFL before he joined the league in 1957.

He led the NFL in rushing in eight of his nine seasons and was voted the league’s most valuable player four times. He held 20 league records when he retired at age 30, including most rushing yards and most rushing touchdowns. In 1999, the Sporting News put him atop its list of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century.

“For mercurial speed, airy nimbleness and explosive violence in one package of undistilled evil, there is no other like Mr. Brown,” New York Times sportswriter Red Smith wrote.

Brown summed up his style by saying: “Make sure when anyone tackles you he remembers how much it hurts.”

He announced his retirement in July 1966 while in London filming his second movie, ‘The Dirty Dozen‘.

“I didn’t retire because I was broken down and slow,” Brown told Sports Illustrated in 2015. “I retired because it was time to retire and do other things.”


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