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Cleveland Browns to honor Jim Brown with statue at stadium

By The Sports Xchange   |   Feb. 18, 2016 at 1:09 AM
| License Photo

The Cleveland Browns will honor Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown with a statue in his image outside FirstEnergy Stadium, the team announced Wednesday on the same day the legendary running back turned 80.

The team will unveil the first sculpture during the 2016 season's Browns Alumni Weekend.

"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," Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his wife Dee said in a statement. "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."

The Browns commissioned nationally recognized sculptor David L. Demming for the statue, which will be erected outside of the southeast corner of FirstEnergy Stadium.

"It humbles me to be honored in this manner," Brown said. "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."

As part of Brown's 80th birthday celebration, NFL Network premiered "Jim Brown: 80 Years and Running" in an hour-long special on Wednesday night.

One of the most storied figures of American sports, Brown finished his career with 12,312 rushing yards and one of the top per-carry averages (5.2) ever established by a running back.

Brown earned nine consecutive Pro Bowls honors and three Associated Press MVPs, as well as leading the Browns to the postseason four times, including three berths in the league championship and the 1964 NFL title.

Brown led the NFL in rushing during eight of his nine seasons and became the franchise's all-time career leader in rushing yards, attempts and touchdowns.

No other Browns player has worn his No. 32 since his retirement in 1965, when he received the last of his MVP awards.

Brown rejoined the Browns as special advisor on May 29, 2013.

New Browns coach Hue Jackson recently told Cleveland.com that he plans to lean on Brown's insights this season.

"I'm looking forward to finding out as many things as Jim Brown knows that can help our football team be the best that it can be," Jackson said. "We're talking about a guy that did it as well as anybody ever, so it would be really smart on my part to sit and talk to him and have him tell me the things that he sees and that he's felt.

"I think I'll get to know him even better as I go through this process of being the head coach in Cleveland. Obviously he's a sensational person, humanitarian, and football player. There are so many things to describe to Jim Brown."

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