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Legendary NFL running back Jim Brown dies at 87

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Jim Brown, widely regarded as the greatest player in NFL history and a prominent advocate for social activism, has passed away.

The news of his death was announced by his wife, Monique, on Instagram. He was 87 years old. Survived by Monique, their two children, and three children from his previous marriage, Brown leaves behind a remarkable legacy.

“We lost a great fighter,” said John Wooten, Brown’s former roommate with the Cleveland Browns.

Brown, who led the Cleveland Browns to the NFL championship in 1964, was unquestionably one of the most exceptional athletes of the 20th century. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, Brown retired as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, accumulating 12,312 yards. Over his nine-season NFL career, he earned eight unanimous first-team all-pro selections and received nine Pro Bowl honors. As a four-time NFL MVP and eight-time rushing champion, he boasted an impressive average of 104.3 rushing yards per game and never missed a single game.

That is why William Sanders, the late father of the renowned Barry Sanders, firmly believed that Jim Brown was the greatest running back of all time. He once declared, “Jim Brown was Jim Brown… the best I’ve ever seen.”

Equally significant was the manner in which Brown chose to retire at the height of his career. In the summer of 1966, he shocked the sports world by abruptly leaving football to pursue a successful acting career. His film debut in “The Dirty Dozen” launched a lifelong passion for acting, with Brown starring in over 50 films and TV roles. His biography, “Jim Brown: The fierce life of an American hero,” by author Mike Freeman, refers to him as “the first Black action star.” Furthermore, in the groundbreaking 1969 movie “100 Rifles,” Brown participated in Hollywood’s first interracial love scene alongside Raquel Welch.

Brown’s influence as a social activist was equally profound. In 1967, he inspired the “Muhammad Ali Summit” in Cleveland, where prominent Black athletes of that era, including Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, gathered to express support for Ali, who faced consequences for his opposition to the Vietnam War. To honor this pivotal event, the Browns organization plans to erect a marker outside FirstEnergy Stadium.

In 1988, Brown founded Amer-I-Can, an organization dedicated to helping former prison inmates develop life skills to aid their reintegration into society. Additionally, he actively worked towards reducing gang violence and played a hands-on role in mediating a truce between rival gangs in Los Angeles.

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