CLEVELAND — Jim Brown has come back to the team he helped lead to its last NFL championship.
Brown will return in an unspecified role with the Browns, who will formally reunite with the Hall of Fame standout at a news conference today. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is expected to announce Brown’s new position with the team he starred with from 1957-65 before retiring to pursue an acting career.
“We’re excited to have him back a part of us,” Browns CEO Joe Banner said. “It’s important to me because he’s clearly in the top couple, if not the single most important part of the history of the franchise, and it’s the right thing to do.”
Brown previously worked as a senior adviser with the Browns. However, his role was eliminated by former team president Mike Holmgren and Brown had been estranged from the team for a few years. He returned to play in an alumni golf outing and was introduced on the field at halftime at a game in September, when he met with Haslam, who had just bought the team from Randy Lerner.
At the time, the outspoken Brown talked about his desire to work again with the team.
“I would love to have a role with the Browns,” he said. “I think that’s what every ex-player would like to do most of all, to be a contributor to the success of an organization. I’m stuck with being No. 32 of the Cleveland Browns and I can’t do anything about it. I don’t want to do anything about it. If you didn’t like the ball, that’s one thing. You’re not going to always like my politics, but we are married because of that history. If I can be a part of the development of a new winning attitude and help get some victories, man that would be fantastic.
“Imagine us having a championship team here again?”
The Browns last won a title in 1964.
Brown is the team’s career rushing leader with 12,312 yards and 106 touchdowns.
Haslam’s arrival seemed to help the Browns patch up any differences with arguably the greatest player in their franchise’s history. Haslam said at the NFL owner’s meetings in March that he anticipated Brown coming back to work for the team.
Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson is thrilled to learn Brown will be back with the team.
“With everything that is moving in the right direction, it’s only right to bring Jim Brown back,” Jackson said. “It’s the perfect time for it because he did a lot when he was here, just his presence alone for a young guy, to be able to have a conversation with him, I was in awe after being around him for three years.
“I want him back.”
Brown was at the Browns’ stadium on Tuesday to film a scene from the upcoming movie “Draft Day” starring Kevin Costner. Brown acted in a scene with former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, who said the return of the famed No. 32 was overdue.
“It’s exciting,” Kosar said. “It’s great. I think the influence he can have on some of the younger kids and some of the younger players is great.”