Jim Brown is dead. I’m stunned and disoriented, despite the fact he was 87. I saw him do so many things I had never seen before or since that I always figured he’d break Death’s arm-tackle, too. Not even The Grim Reaper himself would dare front-up Jim Brown, lest he get trucked.
I saw the news push on my phone mid-afternoon Friday. I immediately had to visit multiple other news sources to confirm. I wasn’t sure I believed it.
Here is a rule I have always strictly obeyed throughout my sports journalism career. If Mr. Lilly says it, I believe it, and that is the end of it. Mr. Lilly has told me at least a half-dozen times that competing against Jim Brown was unlike anything else he experienced.
In a pantheon of athletic gods, Jim Brown was Zeus. Yes, absolutely, Jim Brown was the greatest pro football player ever. Yes. Period. There was a bigger gap between Jim Brown and The Remainder of the Universe than there was for any other man in NFL history. He made even great players look helpless.
And he maintained his aura of mystery throughout. You never completely knew where Jim Brown was coming from, or at least I didn’t. He was inscrutable, and was in some ways Duane Thomas before Duane Thomas was Duane Thomas. It was not by accident or coincidence that Jim Brown became Duane Thomas’ Svengali.
After retiring from pro football at age 30, Brown did more than dabble in the movies. He was a star, and some of his roles were groundbreaking.
Jim Brown’s impact on America was considerable. He was out-front and on the right side of many social and cultural issues. His activism was positive and often effective. He was also a disturbingly flawed and often violent man, particularly in his personal and family relationships. That violence was frequently directed against women. For that, he gets no pass from me.
But he was Jim Brown, and he was unlike anyone else we ever saw on a football field. I spent a chunk of Friday night watching Jim Brown “highlights.” A Jim Brown highlight was pretty much every time he carried the ball.
I’m still not certain he’s dead. I think there’s a chance he’s just getting up slowly, as he always did. And then…
There’s a 100-percent chance of rain for today’s third round of the PGA. The final 36 holes of this major will be a fight for survival.
The Celtics are not just down love-two. They’re down love-two and heading to Miami. And they have pissed off Jimmy Butler.
Now maybe I’m starting to see why the Steelers were so eager to re-sign Mitchell Trubisky to a new three-year deal. He will be a serviceable backup behind Kenny Pickett. But more than that, he will be a very tradable commodity, and his contract is etremely team-friendly.
You recall that the Buffalo Bills released punter Matt Araiza last August after he was linked to an alleged gang-rape of a 17-year-old girl at an off-campus party at Araiza’s alma mater, San Diego State. After a nine-month investigation, no charges were filed against Araiza. All evidence to date establishes that Araiza was not even at the party at the time of the alleged assault. Matt Araiza will not lose his freedom. Unclear is how he will fare in trying to regain his reputation and his profession.
USC athletic director Mike Bohn resigned Friday, citing “ongoing health challenges.” Yeah, the university got sick of him.