When football fans think of the greatest running backs of all time a few names usually come up. Names like Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Gale Sayers. There is a player some would consider greater than those previously named, Jim Brown.
Jim Brown was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the 6th overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft. Brown was a first-team All American at Syracuse University. His senior season at the school was the most impressive. During the 1956 College Football season Brown ran for 986 yards and scored 14 touchdowns in only eight games that season.
Jim Brown’s pro career would mirror the success of his college days. When he came to Cleveland the Browns had yet to find an incredible running back since Hall Of Fame running back Marion Motley quit the team in 1954. During his rookie season Brown ran for 942 yards and had 9 touchdowns. Brown really turned it up a notch in his second season in 1958, rushing for 1527 yards with 17 touchdowns.
This amazing running back went on to seven seasons with 1,000-yards or more during his nine year career. His highest rushing yardage season came in 1963 when he ran for 1,863- yards. Brown’s 1963 season became the running back record for most rushing yards in a single season. The record stood until 1973 when O.J. Simpson ran for 2,003-yards.
Jim Brown’s final season came in 1965. His final game was on January 2, 1965 in the NFL Championship game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, WI. Brown ran for 50-yards, caught 3 passes for 44-yards but scored no touchdowns. The Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns by a score of 23-12.
During his final campaign Brown ran for 1,544 yards and once again recorded 17 touchdowns on the ground. Brown would decide to leave football following 1965 season to pursue an acting career. Many around football could not believe he would leave the NFL while still proving to be one of the best players in the game. At the age of 29 Jim Brown was retired from football and would never play again in the NFL.
His nine season career still stands out as one of the best in NFL History. Jim Brown amassed 12,312 yards (An NFL record not broken until 1984 by Walter Payton) while rushing for 80 touchdowns and caught 20 touchdown passes. Brown led the league in rushing for eight of his nine seasons and was selected as a Pro Bowler in every season he played in the NFL. In 1971 Jim Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
When going back through the records and accomplishments during his playing days it is hard to deny that Jim Brown is one of the greatest players of all time. He may no lomger hold any of the amazing records he set during his career but they are still impressive 49 years after he retired. He was a bruising power back the likes we have never seen since and may never see again. Jim Brown truly left the game of football while still on top.