We were a fly on the wall during a recent conversation between Jim Brown and
Jim Brown: Well, my brother, welcome to the fraternity. We now have a running game.
Ben Tate: First of all, it’s just an honor to be here in your presence. Just to be able to have you around here is great for me because, at this position, you are one of the greatest to ever do it. So to have your presence and to be able to pick your brain, it’s an honor for me.
Jim Brown: Well I tell you, I like the attitude that you have. I haven’t seen a lot of reps from you, but the report I get is good. How have you found Cleveland to be so far?
Ben Tate: These are some of the best fans. They are hungry for us to turn this thing around. And I’m hungry to help do it and finally bring a running game to this organization that we haven’t had in a while. That’s my main goal and my main focus for this year.
Jim Brown: That’s fantastic. What are some other running backs you watch in today’s game, that you appreciate?
Ben Tate: Definitely Adrian Peterson. He’s the best that’s doing it right now. I always watch when he’s playing. Marshawn Lynch is one of my favorites. And Frank Gore.
Jim Brown: That’s generous of you. Adrian is a pretty good friend of mine. I know him well. But like I said, welcome to the fraternity. Because as running backs, we have no animosity towards one another, only respect. Because we are all different. So what is your make up? What is your forte as a running back?
Ben Tate: The passion that I run the ball with. I run the ball hard. I’m hard to tackle. That’s one of the biggest things for me. When I get into open space, I do a good job of making people miss.
Jim Brown: That’s a good answer. Do you like contact?
Ben Tate: Don’t mind it, don’t mind contact at all. You pick and choose your battles (laughs). I’m not running into guys that are 300-pounds.
Jim Brown: Your weight, your quickness, your speed brings a lot to this team. From what I see you have a tremendous attitude. The respect that you’ve given me has allowed me to be able to relate to you during the year. If I relate to you during the year, I’m going to always tell you the truth. The next game that we have I’m going to watch every play that you are in there. When the game is over, I’m going to do a critique with you.
Ben Tate: That’s what I like. To have you here doing that, what better way to learn the craft and get better than learning from one of the greatest? So whatever you have to say, I’m going to take it in stride. The only way you can get better is to take criticism.
Jim Brown: That’s very wise. I’m going to give you a statement that I sometimes use on young people. You already know what you know, right? It’s what you don’t know that you have to learn. But on the other side of the coin, Wilbert Montgomery, your running backs coach, I knew when he played. And he was a good one. The other day I asked him about the last game you played. And he picked up on the same thing I picked up on: you get after it. We talk freely. I’m free to talk with you. Let’s stay on it together.
Ben Tate: I’d like to ask you a question. Back in the day, what were some of your favorite go-to moves?
Jim Brown: See this? See that? (Tune into Building the Browns on WKYC Saturday before the Rams game for the full video). So I’m coming into the tackle and I drop a shoulder and this forearm, I can throw that blow. I like to do that. I can break tackles by throwing that blow. When you mention breaking tackles, see that’s one of the statistics that they don’t keep. But every great running back has to be able to break tackles once in a while. Because it’s not always going to be where you are running free and ducking guys. But if you can keep those guys from wrapping you up and keep that shoulder low?
Ben Tate: Using that shoulder as leverage protected your legs. And you can bounce off.
Jim Brown: That’s right. If you get low enough, and the tacklers can’t get under you, and you’ve got the momentum? Then they are going to take some pain and you are going to get two, or three or four more yards. You can’t stutter. Your momentum with your size, you should be very successful in the system we have here. I’m looking forward to it.
Ben Tate: [Smiles]
Jim Brown: Look at that smile! God bless you.