It’s such an important event in Browns history that the team might want to make it a regional holiday.
We’re talking about Feb. 17, when, in 1936, Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown -- arguably the greatest player in the game’s history -- was born in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Moving to Long Island, N.Y. at the age of 8, he attended high school there and went on to play at Syracuse.
Brown came to the Browns by default in the 1957 NFL Draft. Head coach Paul Brown wanted to use the team’s first selection, at No. 6 overall, to take Purdue quarterback and Alliance, Ohio native Len Dawson to fill the gap left when Hall of Famer Otto Graham retired after the 1955 season.
But the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Paul Brown to the punch, taking Dawson one pick ahead of Cleveland. The coach then went to his second choice and tabbed Brown.
If only every Plan B worked out that well.
Owning a rare combination of size, strength, power, speed and durability, the 6-foot-2, 232-pound Brown, who had a 32-inch waist, shattered every NFL rushing record in his nine-year (1957-65) career. A Pro Bowler each season, he led the league in rushing every year but one, finishing with 12,312 career yards, a 5.2 yards-per-carry average and 106 touchdowns.
Rushing-wise, Brown has the top six season totals in Browns history, four of the top six game totals, and the top three yards-per-carry season averages. He also rushed for a club-record five touchdowns in a 1959 game against the Baltimore Colts, who went on to capture the NFL title for the second consecutive year.
Also a fine pass catcher out of the backfield -- Brown led the club in receptions in 1962, the only year he did not rush for 1,000 yards, and finished second three other times, including in the NFL championship season of 1964 -- Brown is almost on the team’s top 10 career receiving list, having 262 catches for 20 scores.
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