Jim Brown - An Amazing Pro Player

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Published: 02nd November 2012
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When you hear the name Jim Brown you can't help but think 'football'. He was an amazing pro player and some of his record achievements still stand today. The most amazing thing about him is that these records were set during a short eight year professional career and with one team, the Cleveland Browns. But as great as that is, Brown is much more complex an athlete than you might expect.
James Nathaniel "Jim" Brown was born on February 17, 1936 to Theresa and Swinton Brown. He grew up on St. Simon's Island off the coast of Georgia. This unique community would be the foundation for Brown and the influence of his grandmother would shape his life. He was self-reliant and smart and loved the outdoors and all kinds of sports. He was strong and agile but no one ever dreamed that his future would hold such greatness. At the age of eight, Brown's family moved to Manhasset, New York. Once he entered high school there, his athletic talents were noticed and doors were opened.

It was at Manhasset High School that he became a football star and athletic legend. He earned 13 letters in sports playing football, lacrosse, baseball, basketball and running track. The joy he felt when playing these sports drove him to play more and improve his skills. His natural ability and love for the games would prove to be the fuel that drove his life and his success. Of course he wanted to continue to play and was eager to get on to college and hopefully the pros. He was accepted to Syracuse University and welcomed into the sports arenas there.

In his senior year, Brown was a unanimous first-team All-American. He finished 5th in the Heisman Trophy voting, and set school records for highest rush average (6.2) and most rushing touchdowns (6). He ran for 986 yards—third most in the country despite Syracuse playing only eight games—and scored 14 touchdowns

Brown was taken in the first round of the 1956 draft by the Cleveland Browns. He departed as the NFL record holder for both single-season (1,863 in 1963) and career rushing (12,312 yards), as well as the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (106), total touchdowns (126), and all-purpose yards (15,549). He was the first player ever to reach the 100-rushing-touchdowns milestone, and only a few others have done so since, despite the league's expansion to a 16-game season in 1978 (Brown's first four seasons were only 12 games, and his last five were 14 games).

Brown holds the record for total seasons leading the NFL in all-purpose yards (5: 1958–1961, 1964), and is the only rusher in NFL history to average over 100 yards per game for a career. Brown was also a superb receiver out of the backfield, catching 262 passes for 2,499 yards and 20 touchdowns. Every season he played, Brown was voted into the Pro Bowl, and he left the league in style by scoring three touchdowns in his final Pro Bowl game.

Perhaps the most amazing feat is that Jim Brown accomplished these records despite never playing past 29 years of age. Brown's 6 games with at least 4 touchdowns remains an NFL record. Brown led the league in rushing a record eight times. Brown's 1,863 rushing yards in the 1963 season remain a Cleveland franchise record. It is currently the oldest franchise record for rushing yards out of all 32 NFL teams. He was very difficult to tackle (shown by his leading 5.2 yards per carry), often requiring more than one person to bring him down. Brown retired far ahead of the second-leading rusher and remains the league's eighth all-time leading rusher, and is still the Cleveland Browns all-time leading rusher.


Brown's memorable professional career led to his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, while The Sporting News selected him as the greatest football player of all time. Brown's football talents at Syracuse garnered him a berth in the College Football Hall of Fame. Brown also earned a spot in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, giving him a rare triple crown of sorts as well as being one of the few athletes to be a Hall of Fame member in more than one sport.

Brown’s claim to the title of greatest running back of all time is supported by statistics. In 118 career games, Brown averaged 104.3 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry. None of the NFL’s career rushing leaders comes close to these spectacular totals.

This amazing athlete, personality and humanitarian is still at work and serves as a positive role model for young people and aspiring athletes.



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