Jim Brown, arguably one of the greatest professional and college football players of all time, has passed away. He was 87.
His wife of the last 23 years, Monique, announced Brown’s death in an Instagram post Friday afternoon. She said Brown “passed peacefully” Thursday night in their home in Los Angeles.
“It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of my husband, Jim Brown…To the world he was an activist, actor, and football star,” the post stated. “To our family he was a loving and wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken…”
Brown spent the entirety of his nine-year NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, and he was arguably the league’s best running back in every single one of those seasons. He led the NFL in rushing yards in eight of his nine campaigns, and led the league in both yards and touchdowns in five of them. He won league MVP three times and was named a Pro Bowler in each of his nine seasons and a First Team All-Pro in eight of them before abruptly retiring from the game in 1966 at the age of 30.
At the time of his retirement, Brown owned most major NFL rushing records and was widely considered the best running back and arguably best player in the history of the sport. He is still the only player in NFL history to average at least 100 rushing yards per game. He was eventually enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and was named to the NFL’s 1960s All-Decade Team as well as its 50th, 75th, and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams.
The Browns released the following statement in the wake of his passing:
Jim Brown is a true icon of not just the Cleveland Browns but the entire NFL. 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.
His commitment to making a positive impact for all of humanity off the field is what he should also be known for. In the time we’ve spent with Jim, especially when we first became a part of the Browns, we learned so much from him about the unifying force sports can be and how to use sport as a vehicle for change while making a positive impact in the community. Jim broke down barriers just as he broke tackles. He fought for civil rights, brought athletes from all different sports together to use their platform for good. Many thought Jim retired from football too soon, but he always did it his way. From the football field, to Hollywood, to his work in athlete activism, Jim always played the leading role. His devotion to fighting racial injustice, improving education for youth and positively impacting the many lives he has through his Amer-I-Can Program has left a lasting legacy well beyond all he accomplished on the field.
JIM BROWN IS THE CLEVELAND BROWNS AND OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH HIS WIFE, MONIQUE, HIS CHILDREN AND ENTIRE FAMILY AS WELL AS ALL THOSEWHO MOURN THIS IMMENSE LOSS.
The NFL issued the following statement via its Twitter account:
We are heartbroken by the passing of the legendary Jim Brown. One of the greatest players in NFL history, a true pioneer and activist. Jim Brown’s legacy will live on forever.
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A four-time NFL MVP and eight-time rushing champ, he averaged 104.3 rushing yards per game – and never missed a game.
That’s why the late father of the great football legend Barry Sanders never hesitated to draw the line when people asked if his son was the greatest running back ever. As William Sanders declared: “Jim Brown was Jim Brown … the best I’ve ever seen.”
Jim was a man’s man on and off the field and seemed to