Statements and stories about the legacy of Jim Brown have spread across social media since the former NFL fullback’s death, and in one, legendary running back Barry Sanders wrote that “you can’t underestimate the impact” that Brown had on the NFL.
Brown died peacefully Thursday night in his Los Angeles home, his wife Monique announced in an Instagram post.
He was 87.
Brown starred at running back for the Browns for nine seasons after the franchise selected him No. 6 overall in the 1957 NFL Draft.
And in the minutes after Brown’s death was announced, Sanders, whose name could be in the same conversation of greatest rushers to play the game, contributed some of his memories about Brown.
“He will be greatly missed,” Sanders continued in his statement on Twitter, while also adding a photo. “Additionally, his generosity and friendship with my family is a gift that we will always treasure. Our thoughts & prayers are with the Brown Family & @Browns fans at this time.”
Brown, who the league named its annual rushing title after, led the NFL in rushing yards during eight of his nine seasons, while Sanders topped 1,000 yards in each of his 10 seasons and led the league in rushing four times.
Sanders has long been supportive of Brown’s accomplishments and status as one of the top running backs — if not the top running back — to play the game, too, to the point where he’d recall in interviews, according to multiple outlets, that his father would often note how Sanders’ accomplishments could never top Brown.
Sanders said that Brown “dominated the game and transcended football,” according to a 2013 ESPN article.
And in a 2021 interview on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Sanders was asked who he’d choose — in a hypothetical scenario as general manager — to start as his team’s running back, if he could pick one player from all time for that position.
Sanders’ answer: Brown.
“I think he probably dominated the game like no other running back did or has when he played,” Sanders said in the interview with Patrick.
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