BEREA, Ohio — Browns president Mike Holmgren wants to patch things up with Jim Brown.
Holmgren plans to meet with the Hall of Fame running back in the next few days, hoping to repair their relationship which fell apart two years ago when Brown was relieved of his duties as an advisor to owner Randy Lerner. Holmgren said he has reached out to Brown, who has told the team he will take part in alumni activities this weekend surrounding Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
Brown was so stung by Holmgren’s decision to change his role with the club that he boycotted a ceremony in 2010, when the Browns unveiled a ring of honor inside their stadium, a permanent display instituted by Holmgren. Brown’s absence — he was one of 16 Browns Hall of Fame members enshrined — overshadowed the event.
Brown will be on the field for a halftime ceremony this Sunday as former Browns players Ernie Green and Clarence Scott are inducted into the team’s legends club.
The greatest Brown of them all, Brown rushed for 12,312 yards in nine seasons with Cleveland before unexpectedly retiring to pursue an acting career. He is the franchise’s career leader in rushing yards, attempts and touchdowns. His No. 32 is retired by the Browns.
During his rift with Holmgren, Brown created controversy when he called rookie running back Trent Richardson “ordinary” before the Browns selected the Alabama star with the No. 3 overall pick in April’s draft.
Richardson, who rushed for 109 yards last week and scored two touchdowns against Cincinnati in his second NFL game, said Wednesday that he’s excited about the chance to meet Brown.
“It’s going to be an honor just to be on the same field as him,” Richardson said. “He’s going to be out there watching me, and hopefully he’ll give me a few words of wisdom while I’m out there. So I can’t wait to meet him, and I can’t wait to play in front of him.”
Richardson missed the entire exhibition season after undergoing knee surgery, his second operation since January. He believes Brown’s earlier comments may have been made to motivate him.
“I’m pretty sure that he said that for a certain reason,” Richardson said. “And trust me, it has pushed me to where I’m at to this point. I was hurt and I had to fight back, and I thought about that every day. I fought back to get to this point where I’m at right now.”