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Cleveland • As outspoken, unapologetic and intimidating as ever even at age 77 Jim Brown has reunited with the Cleveland Browns.
"Here I am," he said.
The Hall of Fame running back, who was estranged for years from the NFL team where he starred in the 1950s and '60s after his previous role was eliminated by former president Mike Holmgren was welcomed back to the Browns on Wednesday by owner Jimmy Haslam. Brown will serve as a "special adviser," focusing on community work, interacting with fans and helping mentor players.
Haslam called Brown's return a "very special and significant day in Cleveland Browns history."
"He's not only the most famous Cleveland Brown of all time and best player that's ever played here," Haslam said. "One of the reasons the Browns remain so popular is when a lot of us were growing up, they followed No. 32 and he was their hero. So to have 32 back on our team and working with us and being part of not just the Browns but the Cleveland community is tremendously important."
Brown, who retired in 1965 at the peak of his playing career to become an actor, said he is most looking forward to working with Cleveland's young players and vowed to "help anyway I can in the quest to win a Super Bowl."
Haslam helped heal Brown's rift with the team and said the legendary player "is still the man."
Brown said he's excited to be back with the Browns and credited Haslam with making the reunion possible.
Never one to mince his words, Brown promised to continue being himself in his new position with Haslam, who bought the franchise last year from Randy Lerner.
"I wouldn't be sitting here if there was not a relationship between the two of us," Brown said, with Haslam seated to his left at a news conference in FirstEnergy Stadium. "Jimmy doesn't bite his tongue, so I kind of like that. I try not to bite mine, as most of you know. But I think with Jimmy I will be a little more under control."
"I doubt that," Haslam said with a laugh.
Haslam is currently under federal investigation for alleged fraud at his family's Pilot Flying J truck-chain. Brown, who has also had his share of legal troubles, vowed his full sport of Cleveland's owner.
"I've been through many ups and downs here," Brown said. "I like the new ownership. I respect the new ownership. I will stand by the new ownership come hell or high water, and I will be doing everything in my power to help the Cleveland Browns be successful."