Jim Brown did more in nine seasons than most players could dream of doing in an entire NFL career. Cleveland fans were just lucky enough that he got to play his historic career in front of them.
He never intended to have a long NFL career, but his retirement was still a surprising move.
One day Brown was a member of the Browns, preparing to play in his final season. The next he changed his mind and decided to retire. The year was 1966.
Brown changed his mind after owner, and notorious villain, Art Modell threatened to fine Brown if he missed training camp due to filming a movie. Brown offered the ultimate response by retiring, ending of the greatest careers in the history of the NFL, which still holds true today.
He finished his career with 12,312 rushing yards on only 2,359 carries, giving him a 5.2 yards per carry average. His total rushing yards see him at ninth on the NFL all-time rushing yards leader list, but his average is higher than anyone in front of him. He is also one of three players in the top nine with less than 3,000 carries.
His relatively early retirement may have frustrated Browns fans at the time, but the move was a smart one. Brown followed his passion and began an acting career, getting out of football before sustaining any life-threatening injuries, which is something that happens all too often.
He left at his peak, which is something most athletes wish they could do. It is hard to blame a living legend when he decides it is time to hang up the cleats. The move came a year after the Browns won an NFL Championship, so fans may have still been feeling the elation from the championship season. If only they knew what was to come. – SK
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