CLEVELAND — A new Browns season is upon us, but the team and fanbase will also be mourning the loss of a legend in 2023.
Iconic running back Jim Brown died this past May at the age of 87, with team owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam calling him "certainly the greatest to ever put on a Browns uniform and arguably one of the greatest players in NFL history." The Pro Football Hall of Famer was also honored for his commitment to civil rights and desire to help young people facing tough circumstances.
The Browns have already sought to honor Brown in the months since his passing, even hosting a celebration of life service in Canton during Hall of Fame enshrinement week. Prior to Sunday's season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, the team went a step further, unveiling a special jersey patch featuring Brown's signature as well as his retired No. 32.
An image of the patch has also been emblazoned on multiple corners of the field. In addition, as the players came out of the tunnel prior to kickoff, they did so with current running back Nick Chubb holding a flag highlighting a helmet with Brown's number on it. Chubb, whom Brown helped convince Cleveland to draft back in 2018, then handed the flag to Brown's son, Aris.
Despite playing just nine seasons, Brown finished his career as the NFL's all-time leading rusher with 12,312 yards, still the highest mark in Browns history. The three-time MVP was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971, his first year of eligibility.