Former Browns superstar Jim Brown had talent off the charts

Cleveland Browns v New York Giants
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Jim Brown may not be at the top of the charts in various NFL rushing categories these days but don't let that fool you because he's still considered the best running back to ever play the game. Brown passed away recently and the legendary Cleveland Browns back is being remembered fondly by the world.

Brown finished his nine-year career with 12,312 yards on the ground, which is currently 11th overall in the NFL. That seems great on its own, but when comparing the actual numbers to others such as Emmitt Smith — the former Dallas Cowboys superstar who leads the NFL all-time with 18,355 yards —  you quickly find how impressive what Brown did in his shortened career.

It took Smith 4,409 carries to reach that high mark with a 4.2 yards-per-carry over a 15-year career. For comparison, it took Brown 2,359 carries to reach his career total in yardage. That was done with an average of 5.2 yards per attempt. That's 2,050 fewer carries for Brown than Smith. Had Brown stayed in the NFL and wound up with the same number of attempts as Smith, that would be 22,972 yards — well above Smith.

Now, granted that average of 5.2 yards from Brown might have fallen a bit over an extended career, but it still highlights how outrageously good Brown was. Also, considering teams in Brown's era were normally putting nine or 10 players in the box to stop him, it only showcases what the powerful 6-3 and 230-pound fullback was able to accomplish.

In 1963, Brown led the league in rushing with 1,863 yards on 291 carries in a 14-game schedule. That season he averaged 6.4 yards a carry, which is unreal for a running back over so many carries. Eric Dickerson, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams, broke Brown's record in 1984 when he ran for 2,105 yards on 379 carries in a 16-game schedule.

If Brown had an extra 88 carries, which was the difference between the two backs carries in those seasons, then Brown could have run for 2,321 yards based on his 5.2 yards per carry average. Again, he would have blown away the competition.

The only other fair comparison to Brown would be Barry Sanders, formerly of the Detroit Lions, who similarly to Brown, left in his prime after 10 years. Sanders finished his career with 15,269 yards, 99 touchdowns, a 5.0 yards per carry average, and a 99.8 yards per game average. Only Brown had higher yards per game average in the NFL with a lifetime of 106 yards per game.

Sanders had more than 1,115 yards in every one of his 10 years including 2,053 yards — 6.1 yards per carry, and 128 yards per game — in 1997. In addition, he averaged more than 100 yards per game four times in his career.

Brown had seven campaigns where he averaged more than 100 yards per game. Maybe if Sanders continued to play, then we'd be talking about him as the best ever to run the ball. But, considering how the game was played in trying to stop Brown back in his day, that can't be overlooked when comparing these two great players.

dark. Next. How will the Cleveland Browns honor Jim Brown this season?

Brown will always be remembered for what he accomplished on the field of play and to give it some context moving forward as the NFL continues to age will be important to remember. Never forget that Jim Brown was the greatest running back of all time.