“THE GREATEST ATHLETE IN THE HISTORY OF ORGANIZED SPORTS”
James Nathaniel Brown
(born February 17, 1936) is a former American football
player, sports analyst and actor. He played as a fullback
for the Cleveland Browns
of the National Football League
(NFL) from 1957 through 1965. Considered to be one of the greatest running backs of all time, as well as one of the greatest players in NFL history, Brown was a Pro Bowl
invitee every season he was in the league, was recognized as the AP NFL Most Valuable Player
three times, and won an NFL championship
with the Browns in 1964. He led the league in rushing
yards in eight out of his nine seasons, and by the time he retired, he had shattered most major rushing records. In 2002, he was named by The Sporting News
as the greatest professional football player ever.
Brown earned unanimous All-America honors playing college football at Syracuse University, where he was an all-around player for the Syracuse Orangemen football team. He also excelled in basketball, track and field, and lacrosse. The football team later retired his number 44 jersey. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
In his professional career, Brown carried the ball 2,359 times for 12,312 rushing yards and 106 touchdowns, which were all records when he retired. He averaged 104.3 rushing yards per game, and is the only player in NFL history to average over 100 rushing yards per game for his career. His 5.2 yards per rush is third-best among running backs, behind Marion Motley and Jamaal Charles. Brown was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. He was named to the NFL's 50th, 75th, and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams, comprising the best players in NFL history. Brown was honored at the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship as the greatest college football player of all time. His number 32 jersey is retired by the Browns. Shortly before the end of his football career, Brown became an actor, and had several leading roles throughout the 1970s.