Jim Brown: Mike Holmgren did not respect me
The Cleveland Browns announced earlier this week that legendary running back Jim Brown is returning to the team as a special advisor. During an interview with “NFL Total Access” on Friday, Brown referenced “respect” multiple times as the leading factor in his decision to join the Browns again.
In particular, Brown spoke about how former team president Mike Holmgren was responsible for straining the relationship between the Hall of Famer and the team with which he spent nine seasons.
“You have a man who wanted his team,” Brown explained. “(Mike) Holmgren was a successful president and coach and all those things. When he called a meeting with me, he didn’t fire me. He just decided I was getting paid too much. And he didn’t need me to do anything but maybe a little dancing.
“I didn’t feel that he understood my relationship with Cleveland, and I didn’t think that he really cared. I know he hired a lot of his own people and they made a lot of money. And now he’s gone, so the disconnect was that I was not one of his boys.”
When the Browns held a Ring of Honor ceremony in 2010, Brown was not invited. He admitted that being left out hurt but that he tried to take it in stride and not bash the organization. When he was fired, he said he was surprised that his fate rested in the hands of Holmgren and not the team’s owners, the Lerner family.
“I thought I had the kind of a relationship that would never, ever come to have someone from another city deciding my fate,” Brown explained. “I just thought it would be the Lerners, not the Holmgrens.”
The fact that Holmgren and Brown were not best friends was never a secret, but this is the first time Brown has spoken so candidly about it and pointed the finger so directly. Having the most iconic player in franchise history back with the team will certainly help Cleveland from a PR standpoint. Whether or not it helps the product on the field remains to be seen. Brown may have to start by having a conversation with a certain running back that he has not been all that kind to.