JIM BROWN The Fierce Life of an American Hero MIKE FREEMAN From P 103-> Otto Graham was an assistant coach for the all-star game under Lambeau, and within the first few days of practice, Graham approached Jim and told him: â€śYou will never make it in the NFL.â€ť â€śOtto would change and become a different person later in his life, I believe,â€ť said one black Hall of Fame player who knew Graham and asked not to be identified. â€śBut Otto told a number of black players they would be no good. He told me that. He told Gale Sayers that. He told several other black players the same thing, and a bunch of the black players he told that would end up in the Hall of Fame.â€ť In 1964 Graham would go even further, claiming at a Pro Football Hall of Fame luncheon that â€śthe Browns wonâ€™t win anything as long as [Jim] Brown is there.â€ť The players on the Browns were as curious about Jim as he was about them. They had heard of this supposedly fearsome and hardy runner and had watched him on television in the all-star game. What Jim did of the field had also caught their attention. Jim was the first player in professional football to use an agentâ€”an extremely controversial decision at the time. Players in the NFL feared using representation because it was commonplace for owners to refuse to negotiate with any player who attempted to use an agent, and even trade a player who hinted at utilizing one. Jim hired his longtime supporter from Manhasset, Ken Molloy, to handle his contract with Paul Brown. When the several days of discussions between Molloy and Paul concluded, it was decided that Brown would earn a base salary of $12,000 and a signing bonus of $3,000. It was the most money any Browns rookie had ever been paid up to that point. The Browns were a collection of gritty, tough stars, many of whom had played for Paul for some time. They knew Paulâ€™s system and what to expect from Paul himself, and in the summer of 1957 they began to pull Jim aside, one on one, informing Jim of what life was like under Paul, whom some called â€śthe Man.â€ť One of those players who initially approached Jim was Lenny Ford, the all-American from the University of Michigan. Ford symbolized the stoutness of the Browns. In his first season as a professional, against the Chicago Cardinals, Ford suffered a broken nose, two cheek- bone fractures, and three lost teeth when Chicago fullback Pat Harder elbowed him. It took plastic surgery to repair Fordâ€™s face. He returned later in the season wearing a specially fitted mask for protection. Ford was so intimidating as a defender that Cleveland shifted its defense from a six-man front to a four-man line so the defense could better take advantage of Fordâ€™s pass-rushing skills. On one of the first days of training camp, Ford spoke to Jim, and what Ford said was stunning to a man who was quickly becoming numb to what seemed like a series of eye-opening experiences. As Brown recounted in his 1964 book, Ford told him: â€śFirst, when youâ€™re running through plays in practice, always run twenty yards downfield. Donâ€™t just run through the hole and then jog a few steps and lip the ball back. The man doesnâ€™t like that. Run hard for twenty yards, even if you feel silly. He likes to see that.â€ť Ford paused, and looked harder at Brown, attempting to emphasize what was coming next. â€śSecondly, keep your mouth shut when he speaks to you. When he tells you how to run a play, run it the way he tells you. If you have an idea for improving the play, keep it to yourself. Suggestions make the man mad. If youâ€™re pretty sure you can make more ground by changing the play, change it in the game. Donâ€™t change it in practice. Run it your way in the game and hope it works, and if it does, donâ€™t say anything. Just make your yardage and act like it was a mistake.â€ť Jim was taken aback by Fordâ€™s warnings. To Jim, it sounded as if the team feared Paul so much they would rather deceive him than level with him. â€śAlso,â€ť finished Ford, â€śdonâ€™t start any conversations with the man. Donâ€™t initiate anything. You see something wrong, let it go. He does all the talking here.â€ť Jim was perplexed. His initial talks with Paul showed no controlling aspects in Paulâ€™s nature. Paul was smiling and approving in his dealings with Jim as the summer practice months turned into preseason games. In the second game, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jim scored a touchdown from 40 yards out in the third quarter after outrunning the entire Steelers secondary. Paul pulled Jim out of the game, waving for Jim to stand next to him. â€śYouâ€™re my fullback,â€ť Paul said. Then Paul casually moved away from Jim down the sideline. Jim would consider that moment one of the greatest of his career. Paul Brown wanted him. Jim at first thought he and Paul would share the kind of umbilical closeness Jim had shared with Walsh and the coaches back at Manhasset. Jim did not understand why the players feared and at times hated Paul. Just a short time later, Jim and Paul would become quiet enemies, two men that reviled each other, but rarely spoke a cross word about each other in public. The relationship between Paul and Jim should not have been one made in dysfunctional hell. Paul had courageously signed black players when to do so was socially unacceptable, possibly even dangerous, and Jim initially saw Paul as a white man stemming from the same genetic mold as Walsh, Molloy, and Simmons, men who had been beneficial to his life and career, not hurtful. The core of Jim and Paulâ€™s problems was not just a changing football league, but a shifting society. Paul could not deal with an America that was changing so quickly. Jim was a child of that change. The countryâ€™s emphasis on individual rights and freedoms began trickling down to football. But individuality was contrary to Paulâ€™s beliefs. A young Jim was maturing into an activist who refused to bend to Paulâ€™s will, and Paul declined to change the ways that had made him the most successful coach in football. â€śJim was not going to score touchdowns and get beat up physically and then stay quiet and say nothing once the game was over,â€ť said former Cleveland teammate Bobby Mitchell. â€śHe found the notion offensive that he was supposed to be this quiet brute. Jim was anything but quiet. Jim was opinionated. Under Paul, players were not supposed to be opinionated. You were supposed to just shut up and play.â€ť -------------------------------------- PS: Paul Brown coached the Cleveland Browns, a team named after him, the name chosen in a fan contest. They went to 10 consecutive championships, winning 8 with Otto Graham at QB. They were the most dominant combination in the history of pro football. Art Modell fired Paul Brown from the Cleveland Browns January 9, 1963. Modell later removed the beloved team to Baltimore, where they became the Ravens. The people of Cleveland, heartbroken, wisely chose to insist that the name Brown belongs to them, Mr Modell could not take that, too. Modell unsurprisingly remains extremely unpopular in Cleveland to this day. Jim Brown is widely regarded as the greatest running back of all time. The tragedy of the failure of two very different men named Brown to get along created a rift, a pain still felt in the city of Cleveland. And, in the hearts of true fans of football everywhere.