The Cleveland Browns will honor one of the most extraordinary athletes in sports history during the nationally broadcast Browns-Bills game at FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday, the organization announced.
That evening, when the team hosts Buffalo in a showcase Thursday night contest on the NFL Network, the legendary Jim Brown will be recognized by his only NFL team in a fitting tribute. The event figures to be among the most singular memories in the team's rich history.
A City of Cleveland Proclamation will make Oct. 3 "Jim Brown Day," as declared by Mayor Frank G. Jackson.
Brown will be recognized during a halftime ceremony, honoring his contributions to the Browns and the City of Cleveland, on and off the field.
During pregame, Brown will join five breast-cancer survivors as honorary coin-toss captains. The five female heroes, joining the team's celebration of the fifth year of the NFL's "A Crucial Catch" breast-cancer awareness initiative, were selected through an open nomination process on clevelandbrowns.com/community.
Throughout the game, Brown's No. 32 will be displayed on lapel pins and buttons worn by all gameday staff at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns have also designed a special logo (attached) to commemorate the event.
The NFL's best fans can salute one of the greatest running backs of all time this week by sharing their memories and praises in 32 words or fewer at clevelandbrowns.com/32, or by using the Twitter hashtag #TheGreat32. Entrants will have a chance to win unique Browns prizes, including a Jim Brown Day Experience comprising tickets to the game, VIP pregame sideline passes and a meet-and-greet with the Cleveland legend.
Each day leading up to the game, clevelandbrowns.com/32 will also release special video vignettes on Brown, featuring his most impressive career highlights and segments from Vic Carucci's exclusive interview with #TheGreat32 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
"We are absolutely thrilled to formally honor Jim Brown, the greatest running back in the history of the NFL," said Owner Jimmy Haslam. "Jim is synonymous with the Cleveland Browns. He has an undeniable place in our history and we look forward to celebrating him appropriately on Oct. 3."
"When Jimmy Haslam invited me to do this, I was flattered," Brown said. "That night will be about family, about joining together with the city, the region and the greatest fans in all the NFL, in a celebration of the Cleveland Browns. I'm thrilled about the opportunity."
"We look forward to celebrating Jim Brown this Thursday with football fans in Cleveland and throughout the country," said CEO Joe Banner. "I've always admired Jim. He is not only a cherished member of the Browns, but his contributions to the NFL and its national prevalence are immeasurable."
"You cannot think of the Cleveland Browns or the City of Cleveland without thinking of Jim Brown," Mayor Jackson said. "He brought prominence to the team and to this city. I am honored to join the city, fans and Cleveland Browns in celebrating this football legend."
One of the most storied figures in the annals of American spectator 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 commanded immediate respect as a Browns rookie in 1957, when he began his career-long streak of nine consecutive Pro Bowls. Brown garnered three Associated Press MVPs and guided his team to the postseason four times, including three berths in the league championship and the 1964 world title.
A first-team All-Pro on eight occasions, he incredibly led the NFL in rushing during eight of his nine NFL seasons, and left the game as the franchise's all-time career leader in rushing yards, attempts and touchdowns.
No other Browns player has worn his iconic No. 32 since his retirement in 1965, when he earned the last of his NFL MVP awards.
An All-American at Syracuse, Brown received the NFL's Rookie of the Year honor in 1957, when he registered his first of 58 career 100-yard games.
Brown re-joined the Browns as special advisor on May 29.