Browns reach out to legend Jim Brown
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns are doing all they can to tackle Jim Brown.
Team president Mike Holmgren has reached out again to the Hall of Fame running back, asking Brown to reconsider not attending this Sunday's ring of honor ceremony at halftime of Cleveland's home opener against Kansas City.
Brown, the greatest player in team history and one of the NFL's all-time best, is at odds with the Browns over losing his job as a team adviser. He recently informed the Browns he would not take part in the ceremony when the team inducts its 16 Hall of Fame members as the initial class into the new ring of honor.
Brown is angry that Holmgren reduced his responsibilities as an adviser to owner Randy Lerner. Never afraid to speak his mind, Brown sent a scathing letter to Holmgren, telling him he would not stay with the club to be "that of the greeter, that of a mascot."
Holmgren said he has attempted to work things out with Brown, and hopes he will attend Sunday's game.
"I haven't heard from Jim, but the door is open," Holmgren said as the Browns kicked off a week of festivities tied into their ring of honor. "After he declined, I wrote another letter to him and again expressed my feelings on how much we would like him there, but understood that he might not be able to come.
"I left the door open. I'm holding out hope that we get that call in the next couple days."
Holmgren said Lerner has also written to Brown in an attempt to smooth things over with the 74-year-old. Holmgren did not know if any of the other six living Hall of Famers or members of the other families had attempted to contact Brown.
"It wouldn't surprise me because a lot of those fellas are relatively close," Holmgren said. "Not only do they share the football part of it, but I think they bump into each other at the Hall of Fame occasionally and things like that. It wouldn't surprise me. But I don't know."
Holmgren said the only living member who won't make it for the ring ceremony is Mike McCormack, a two-way star for the Browns from 1954-62. McCormack, who lives in the Seattle area, recently had surgery.
Holmgren wasn't able to attend Cleveland's opener in Tampa Bay on Sunday. While recovering from a foot operation, Holmgren hurt his back.
"I had to have an epidural," he said. "My back, because of my foot, all of a sudden went wacko. My foot was not an excuse, but my back. I watched the game laying on my stomach in my den, looking up at the TV. Right now I'm in a lot of pain.
"I'll be there Sunday. I'm not missing another game."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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