Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown has never been one to mince words.
On Tuesday night’s episode of ‘Inside the NFL’ which airs on Showtime, Brown unloaded on former team president Mike Holmgren.
Brown, who joined host James Brown and analysts, All-Pro greats Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth, was asked why he took a 3-year hiatus from the team.
“Mike Holmgren,” Brown said. “Well, Mike is not from Cleveland. I’m a Cleveland Brown. So he gave me a choice of taking three dollars and doing a little dancing for him out there. I said, ‘Mr. Holmgren I’m sorry…I don’t dance…become a mascot type of guy’…And I cracked up but I wrote him a letter. And I stated those things and I had a little humor with it because I knew ultimately I would probably be back because Cleveland is my home. I have great roots there and I love the people and the people love me.”
Shortly after Holmgren took over as president in January 2010, he dismissed Brown as a special adviser to the team. Brown was insulted so much by Holmgren that he boycotted the team’s September ceremony to unveil a ‘Ring of Honor’ at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Holmgren signed a 5-year, $40 million deal to take control of the franchise but Brown said all he did was steal money from then owner Randy Lerner.
“They were going to clean house,” Brown said. “And he had all his boys that were going to come in and take advantage of the kind of money that he could pay his guys. And never really be there. He took advantage of Randy (Lerner) and it was just a shame.
“Randy’s a good guy, young owner. (He) wanted someone to take the pressure off of him. Mike came in, saw the weakness, and took advantage of it.”
The flap with Brown was just the first of many PR gaffes Holmgren committed while in charge of the Browns. The most embarrassing came when he mishandled the Colt McCoy concussion controversy in Dec. 2011 and dropped this line on media and fans.
“The problem is and the tough thing for you guys and our fans is it seems it’s business as usual, which is very easy to write and say, but I’m telling you that it’s not,” Holmgren said. “You can choose to believe me or you can say, ‘I’ve heard it before.’ That’s your choice, but when it does happen, don’t come to me for extra tickets to a playoff game or something. Don’t do that. You’re either with us or you’re not. I’m telling you it’s different now.”
Holmgren, who failed to find a franchise quarterback or field a watchable team that won only 9 games under his watch, was sent packing Nov. 30, 2012.
Brown returned to the franchise in May when owner Jimmy Haslam named him a special adviser to the team and charged him with assisting with player engagement.
Brown was also asked to weigh in on last week’s stunning trade of Trent Richardson to Indianapolis for the Colts’ 2014 first-round pick.
“Well, I was surprised, but then I thought it was a brilliant move,” Brown said. “Because first of all, Trent couldn’t have carried the kind of load that Cleveland needed. But with Andrew Luck, Andrew won’t need as much. And the two of them can really do a lot for their team. And Cleveland with their draft choices, I think they were going to look at a quarterback.
“But now with the youngster playing the way he played last week, it might change a little bit. But I think with the first draft choices they can get in some really good players. And they have a young team and of course we had a great victory utilizing the kind of imagination that made the trade. That imagination is exciting because Cleveland is really popping right now.”
Brown said that he spoke with Richardson after the deal – but he wasn’t the only one.
“I called Trent Richardson because he’s a friend of mine,” Brown said. “As you say, when a player leaves, it can leave a bad smell in the locker room. But the great thing is that Jim Haslam also called him (Richardson) and Jim is the owner of the Browns, so there’s a touch of class in that organization.”
He also anticipates that the team isn’t done wheeling and dealing.
“They make the moves,” Brown said. “They’re going to make the bold moves… You’re never going to be able to rest because Joe Banner is going to like to deal. He dealt in Philadelphia.”
The full interview with Brown will air Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on Showtime.
Sports Stories You May Also Be Interested In
- Jaguars Hand Texans 11th Straight Loss, 27-20
- Browns Beat: News, Notes & Quotes – Thursday
- Nate Ebner Says “It Was Always in My Head That I’d Be Here One Day”
- Weekly Over & Unders, Predictions with Paul Bessire