Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and wife Dee certainly picked out the right birthday present for the greatest running back of all time Jim Brown. On his 80th birthday, Brown received the news that the Cleveland Browns will build a statue of him outside of FirstEnergy Stadium. Brown had the honor of unveiling the 1964 NFL championship trophy in a ceremony back in 2004, now he will get the opportunity to witness a statue of himself be unveiled later this year.
“Everyone admires the incredible impact that Jim Brown has made for Cleveland, the Browns and the NFL throughout his lifetime, and we have had the special opportunity to know and learn from his contributions to our team on a personal level, as well,” the Haslams said in a release sent out by the team on Wednesday afternoon. “It is only fitting that one of the most iconic professional football players and members of Cleveland and the Browns is commemorated with this statue as he will always be such a permanent fixture in our city.”
“It humbles me to be honored in this manner,” Brown said in the team release announcing the statue. “Dee and Jimmy Haslam, thank you for the respect and love. Your investment in Cleveland is unparalleled. To the fans of the Cleveland Browns, I guess I’ll always be with you – thank you.”
The statue will be unveiled during the Browns alumni weekend. That will be announced at a later date once the 2016 NFL regular season is announced in April. The statue will be located outside of the southeast entrance to FirstEnergy stadium.
The statue will be created by David Demming. The Lakewood, Ohio native is recognized nationally for his his work. Demming’s work is on display in the Cleveland area and across the country.
It will be interesting to see if future Browns alumni will have a statue made in their honor. Players like Otto Graham, Lou Groza, Bernie Kosar along with former head coach Paul Brown.
The announcement of the Jim Brown statue caps off a list of honors by the Cleveland Browns and the NFL to honor Brown on his 80th birthday.
The NFL Network will air a one hour special. “Jim Brown: 80 Years and Running” airs at 8 p.m tonight with encore showings at midnight and this Sunday at 11:30 p.m.
The special will feature highlights of his career along with a round table discussion with Hall of Fame running backs Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Marcus Allen, Franco Harris, Eric Dickerson and Brown himself.
The Cleveland Browns are honoring their legendary running back with a special website where you can also look back at highlights of his career and even send a birthday wish. Head over to jimbrown.clevelandbrowns.com to see all kinds of information on the Browns legend both on and off the football field.
Brown is the only running back in NFL history to average 100 yards rushing per game for an entire career. Brown helped lead the Browns to their last championship back in 1964.
Brown will become the fourth professional athlete in Cleveland sports history to have a statue created in his honor. The other three statues are former Cleveland Indians, hall of fame pitcher Bob Feller, 600 home run club member Jim Thome and Larry Doby, the first African American to break the color barrier in the American League.