The Cleveland Browns will honor Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown at FirstEnergy Stadium with a statue in his likeness, as announced by Browns Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam. The team, which is currently evaluating opportunities to recognize additional major team contributors with commissioned pieces at FirstEnergy Stadium, 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," said the Haslams. "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," said Brown. "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 Browns commissioned nationally-recognized sculptor David L. Demming for the statue, which will be erected outside of the southeast corner of FirstEnergy Stadium. Hailing from Lakewood, Ohio, Demming has created many distinguished pieces that are featured throughout Cleveland and the United States.
Brown celebrates his 80th birthday today. The Browns are marking the date among his many milestones through a dedicated website, www.jimbrown.clevelandbrowns.com, and #HappyBirthdayJimBrown.
As part of the occasion, NFL Media tonight will premiere Jim Brown: 80 Years and Running, an hour-long NFL Network special to air tonight at 8 p.m. ET. The program highlights key moments of Brown's life, legacy, as well as how he set the framework for players pursuing post-league careers in the media industry.
One of the most storied figures of American sports, the Pro Football Hall of Famer finished his career with 12,312 rushing yards and one of the top per-carry averages (5.2) ever established by a running back.
Dominating his era unlike any player in NFL history, Brown earned nine consecutive Pro Bowls honors and three Associated Press MVPs, as well as guided his team to the postseason four times, including three berths in the league championship and the 1964 world title. An eight-time first-team All-Pro, he led the NFL in rushing during eight of his nine NFL seasons and became the franchise's all-time career leader in rushing yards, attempts and touchdowns.
No other Browns player has worn his legendary No. 32 since his retirement in 1965, when he received the last of his NFL MVP awards.
An All-American at Syracuse, Brown was named the NFL's Rookie of the Year in 1957 after registering his first of 58 career 100-yard games.
Brown re-joined the Browns as special advisor on May 29, 2013.