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Browns tapping into valuable alumni resources at all levels

Moments after owner Jimmy Haslam announced an expanded role for Jim Brown within the Browns organization, Hue Jackson answered how he'd utilize the NFL legend in matter of fact fashion.

"My plan is to speak to him early and often because I think he's very bright, he gets it," Jackson said Thursday at the Cleveland Browns Foundation's 17th annual golf outing. "He understands these young men, he understands truly how to motivate them and push them.

"To me, with a guy like Jim, to not use him as a resource would not be very smart on my part."

That mentality has been applied in multiple facets within the Browns organization in recent months, as former players have flocked to Berea to watch practice and interact with the players and coaches. Some, such as former Browns running back Earnest Byner and Brown, have been utilized in a more official capacity.

Again, it hasn't been by accident or coincidence, and Jackson stressed as much Thursday when another example presented itself.

"It connects our players with former players. Those former players who live here, they want to feel like they're still a part of it, and they are," Jackson said. "They're the men who laid the foundation for where we are today. They have the opportunity to give them very sound advice because they've been through it.

"I'm 50 years old right now and these young men we have have never been 50 years old but I've never played in the National Football League. There's people who are going to be able to give them very experienced advice with what they're dealing with not just within the organization but also in the community with how they can be successful, and I think that's very important."

Byner, a longtime NFL running back who was a running backs coach for multiple teams in recent years, has been with the Browns since the start of OTAs working coaching hours and lending his expertise to a number of areas. Byner grew close with executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown during their time together in Jacksonville and has gotten to know and been impressed by Jackson in their many interactions.

Alums from many generations of Browns teams attended the team's OTA practices in recent weeks. That group has included Roger Chanoine, Greg Pruitt, Hanford Dixon, Bernie Kosar, Steve Sanders, John Thierry, Felix Wright, David Mays, Frank Stams, Dave Wohlabaugh, Jamie Caleb, Bill Duff, Bob Golic and David Mays.

Expect that list to grow in the coming weeks and months as the team heads toward its first season under Jackson.

Brown was one of a number of alums at Thursday's golf tournament, and his presence will be felt in many other ways "early and often" during Jackson's time as Browns head coach.

"He's been outstanding," Jackson said. "I've had a lot of long conversations with him, obviously about the organization, the city and how he can help. Again, one thing we all know about Jim is he's never going to do anything to hurt the organization. He's been unbelievable for me and a great sounding board and I appreciate him being as active as he is."

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