Jim Brown, who most consider the greatest football player of all time and without a doubt the greatest Browns player, died at age 87.
Jim Brown’s wife Monique shared news of the football player’s death in an Instagram post on Friday afternoon.
“He passed peacefully last night at our LA home,” Monique wrote. “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.”
Brown only played nine seasons in pro football but he left his mark on and off the field. He is the team’s all-time leading rusher with 12,312 yards. He played every game in his years from 1957 to 1965, leading the NFL in rushing eight times. He was named the NFL MVP three times and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
“Jim Brown is a true icon of not just the Cleveland Browns but the entire NFL,” Jimmy and Dee Haslam said in an emailed statement. “He was certainly the greatest to ever put on a Browns uniform and arguably one of the greatest players in NFL history. Jim was one of the reasons the Browns have such a tremendous fan base today. So many people grew up watching him just dominate every time he stepped onto the football field but his countless accolades on the field only tell a small part of his story.”
In an interview with Cleveland Magazine in 2013, Brown said he just fell in love with the game of football at a young age.
“The first time I was given a football, it was just a natural thing,” he said. “To caress it, hold it in my hand, to emulate being a running back — it goes back to my childhood.”
He went on to talk of his success and his teammates.
“There was a marriage between the linemen and myself. Had nothing to do with the coaches or the plays that they called,” he said. “We did our own thing. It was like being a locomotive and a cheetah all wrapped up in one. We'd outrun everything and run over everything else. And it wasn't me, it was me and my linemen. I'd ask them for a little more speed, and they'd give it to me. They'd reach down and come out of that stance and turn that corner and go down field. Here we come BABY!”
Upon news of Brown’s death, the Cleveland Browns changed its profile photo on social media to the number 32, in honor of Brown's jersey while he played for the team.
"It’s impossible to describe the profound love and gratitude we feel for having the opportunity to be a small piece of Jim’s incredible life and legacy," the team shared on Twitter. "We mourn his passing, but celebrate the indelible light he brought to the world."