Brown will return for alumni events
CLEVELAND (AP) — Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns are getting back together.
The Hall of Fame running back, who has had a rift with his former team for several years, plans to take part in alumni events this weekend when the Browns host the Buffalo Bills.
Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis said the 76-year-old Brown recently informed the team that he will be in Cleveland for Sunday’s game, when the Browns will induct former players Ernie Green and Clarence Scott into their legends club. Brown also told former teammates of his intentions at the funeral for former owner Art Modell in Baltimore last week.
It will be Brown’s first time at Cleveland Browns Stadium in more than two years. He has been at odds with the club since team president Mike Holmgren removed him from his role as an adviser to owner Randy Lerner, who is selling the franchise to Jimmy Haslam III.
Holmgren offered Brown a reduced role with the team, but he declined.
Brown was so hurt by Holmgren’s decision to change his position with the team that he boycotted a ceremony in 2010, when the Browns unveiled a ring of honor inside their stadium. Brown’s absence overshadowed and diminished the event, and his estranged relationship with the Browns has been a sore point for all parties involved.
In June, Holmgren said he was open to renewing a relationship with Brown.
“I would like Jim Brown to come and be a part of this and feel comfortable doing that and I would welcome him with open arms,” Holmgren said. “How the Browns view Jim Brown hasn’t changed and will never change. I would love to see Jim Brown walk in right now or come to the Legends thing, be a part of this.”
It’s not known if Brown will meet with Holmgren while he’s in town over the weekend. The two are certain to cross paths as the Browns have an alumni golf outing scheduled for Friday, a private dinner at the stadium on Saturday, and Green and Scott will be inducted into the legends club during halftime on Sunday.
Always outspoken, Brown also made headlines earlier this year when he criticized the Browns for drafting running back Trent Richardson in the first round. Brown described Richardson as “ordinary,” and the man who helped revolutionize the running back position said he “didn’t see anything outstanding” about the rookie back.
On Sunday, Richardson rushed for 109 yards and scored two touchdowns in his second NFL game as the Browns lost 34-27 at Cincinnati.
Richardson has said Brown’s comments have motivated him.
Brown rushed for 12,312 yards in nine seasons with the Browns before he unexpectedly retired to pursue an acting career. He is the franchise’s career leader in rushing yards, attempts and touchdowns.
Brown’s No. 32 was retired by the Browns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.