CANTON, Ohio (WJW) – There will be 371 bronze busts at the Pro Football Hall of Fame once the 2023 class is inducted. Few have had a career as impactful as Jim Brown.
Brown passed away peacefully at his Los Angeles home on Thursday at the age of 87. Fans visiting the hall of fame remember him for being a difference maker.
“To the running game he practically meant everything,” Browns fan Marsh Lane said.
Brown is enshrined all over Northeast Ohio, from his statue outside of Cleveland Browns Stadium to his 1971 bronze bust at the hall of fame.
The hall of fame has its flag at half-staff for Brown. His career accolades are everlasting and stretch a mile long.
He’s the only player in NFL history to win rookie of the year and NFL MVP in the same season. He led the league in rushing in eight of his nine seasons before retiring in his prime at 30.
But Browns fan Randy Bonder said Brown was equally as impactful off the field.
“Basically, his love for humanity and football,” Bonder said. “He extended his talents and his time toward trying to develop people.”
A Renaissance man, Brown was also an actor, appearing on television and in movies. He was also a civil rights activist and advocate for social justice, appearing with Muhammad Ali at the Cleveland Summit of 1967, supporting Ali’s refusal to serve in the Vietnam War. He was also an advisor to the Browns for many years.
Fans from across the league hold Brown in high regard. Packers fan Tom Lawrence said the NFL was built by players like Brown.
“He went beyond being a favorite for the Browns and Browns fans, he meant a lot to football fans,” Lawrence said. “Some of my earliest memories of watching TV were watching Jim Brown run, and that was before I became a Packers fan. So I mean yeah, he means a lot. But he means more than just to football, he means a lot to the country.”