BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn’t one for nostalgia when it comes to talking to reporters but he’ll make exceptions every now and then.
Wednesday morning was one of those moments when he was asked during a conference call with Cleveland reporters about Jim Brown finally getting a statue outside of FirstEnergy Stadium last month.
“Definitely long overdue,” Belichick said. “In my opinion, [there’s] no greater player in professional football than Jim Brown. But on top of that, Jim’s a very special person. He’s a great friend and he’s a great leader. I respect and have great admiration for the things that Jim has accomplished throughout his life, his career on the football field, lacrosse field, but more importantly off the field.
“The Amer-I-Can program that he’s developed, I’ve had the opportunity to witness that, be a part of it first hand and be involved with Jim on some of the things that he was doing with that, with his organization there.”
The Browns unveiled the bronze statue prior to their home opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 18.
Belichick became close with Brown when he coached the Browns from 1991-1995 and although Brown didn’t hold a title or serve in any official capacity, he was around the team regularly during Belichick’s tenure.
“I wish that statue had been there when I was there,” Belichick said. “It certainly would have been deserving then, however long ago that was, 25 years ago or whatever it was. Great man, great football player, great person. Nobody I have higher respect for than Jim Brown.”
Brown currently serves as a special advisor to the team.
The 0-4 Browns host Belichick’s Patriots, who were shut out at home by Buffalo last week, Sunday.