If you know sports, you know the name Jim Brown. But Brown’s playing days were well before most current NFL players were even born.
So, after the New England Patriots beat the Cleveland Browns 33-13 in Tom Brady’s first game back from his Deflategate suspension, Pats coach Bill Belichick took the opportunity to bring his players by a statue of Brown, which was unveiled outside FirstEnergy Stadium earlier this season.
“I think honestly any person, football player or otherwise, can learn a lot from Jim Brown and what he represents and what he stands for,” Belichick said Monday in a conference call, via Patriots.com. “But particularly as it relates to our football team, Jim Brown’s, in my opinion, the greatest player that ever played. I had an opportunity to know, I’ve known Jim for over 20 years now. I met him when I was the coach of the Browns.
“Just have so much more respect and appreciation for him knowing him well as a person and a friend than I did as just an observer at a distance. He’s meant so much to this game. He’s paved the way for all of us, players and coaches. Part of many who have made professional football, the game of football, the great game that it is.
“I just felt like it was an opportunity for us, as a team after the game, to recognize and pay tribute to Jim and all that he stands for both in and out of football. But in particular what he has mean to the game of football and how much he’s done for the game, which means for all of us.”
The quick stop led to some social media posts by the players, but it was about much more than that.
“That statue was recently put there … it’s kind of remarkable that it hadn’t happened sooner, but regardless I’m not sure how many of our players really understand or appreciate what he meant to the game and what he has meant to the game through his continued involvement,” Belichick added. “That’s why we did it and I’m glad they appreciated it.
“Hopefully that’s something as part of their football career will be one small memory, is just the recognition of a great player and a great person and somebody who’s really made the game better for all of us.”
Thumbnail photo via Scott R. Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images