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Jim Brown's multi-faceted career spanned professional football with the Cleveland Browns, a distinguished time in Hollywood, and activism in civil rights.

Jim Brown, NFL great, Hollywood star, civil rights activist dies at 87

LOS ANGELES (CN)—Funeral services were pending today for Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, the Cleveland Browns legend who went on to become a prolific actor and prominent civil-rights activist.


Brown died May 18 at his home in Los Angeles at age 87, according to a family representative.


"It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of my husband, Jim Brown," Monique Brown said in a statement.

 

"He passed peacefully last night at our L.A. home. To the world he was an activist, actor, and football star. To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken."

Considered by many one of the greatest football players of all time, Brown played for the Browns from 1957-65, averaging more than 5 yards per carry en route to becoming the league's rushing leader in almost every year of his short but storied career. He was named the league MVP in 1965, and also led the Browns to an NFL championship in 1964. Brown was named to the Pro Bowl every year of his career.

"Legend. Leader. Activist. Visionary," the Cleveland Browns posted on the team's Twitter page Friday. "It's impossible to describe the profound love and gratitude we feel for having the opportunity to be a small piece of Jim's incredible life and legacy. We mourn his passing, but celebrate the indelible light he brought to the world. Our hearts are with Jim's family, loved ones and all those he impacted along the way."


Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam issued a statement saying, "Jim Brown is a true icon of not just the Cleveland Browns but the entire NFL. He was certainly the greatest to ever put on a Browns uniform and arguably one of the greatest players in NFL history.

 

"Jim was one of the reasons the Browns have such a tremendous fan base today. So many people grew up watching him just dominate every time he stepped onto the football field but his countless accolades on the field only tell a small part of his story."


Seemingly at the height of his playing career, Brown opted to retire in 1966, while he was in the midst of filming the classic war film "The Dirty Dozen," featuring Lee Marvin and a host of other Hollywood dignitaries, includ- ing Telly Savalas and Charles Bronson. Another classic was the 1969 Mexican Revolutionary War drama, "100 Rifles," featuring co-stars Raquel Welch and Burt Reynolds

 

Brown went on to appear in more than two dozen other films, including "Ice Station Zebra," "The Running Man," "Any Given Sunday," "Black Gunn," "Three the Hard Way," and "Mars Attacks."


At the time of his retirement from the NFL, he was the league leader in total yards with 12,312 and 126 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,863 yards in the 1963, a team record that still stands in Cleveland. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. A statue of Brown stands outside the Cleveland Browns' stadium.


Brown was destined for greatness out of college at Syracuse, where he was also a standout lacrosse player—he is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame—and also lettered in basketball and track.


Brown also became a noted civil rights advocate and anti-gang activist. He founded the Amer-I-Can program in 1988, aimed at helping at-risk and high-risk youth at inner-city schools and juvenile detention facilities. It also offers reentry programs for adults exiting prison.


He also worked as a football analyst for CBS, where he counted Vin Scully among his colleagues.


"On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Monique and their family," NFL Commis- sioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Jim Brown was a gifted athlete—one of the most dominant play- ers to ever step on any athletic field—but also a cultural figure who helped promote change.


"During his nine-year NFL career, which coincided with the civil rights movement here at home, he became a forerunner and role model for athletes being involved in social initiatives outside their sport. He inspired fellow athletes to make a difference, especially in the communities in which they lived."


His life was not without controversy. he had numerous run-ins with the law, beginning in 1968 when he was charged with assault, a case that was dismissed when the alleged victim declined to cooperate with prose- cutors. Brown was ordered to pay a fine, however, for striking a sheriff's deputy involved in the investigation.


Brown was charged but later acquitted in a road-rage case in 1970. He was convicted of misdemeanor battery in 1975 for assaulting a golf partner. In 1999, he was arrested for allegedly threatening his wife and vandalizing her car with a shovel. He was sentenced to three years probation, domestic violence counseling and commu- nity service.

 

But Brown failed to abide by any of those terms, and he spent three months behind bars.


Brown is survived by his wife, Monique, and children Karen, Kim, Kevin, Jim Jr. and Aris.

 

VIKINGS TEAM CHARITY

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Vikings Legends Reunite at Team's Annual Golf Tournament. Courtesy Alli Rusco/Minnesota Vikings

 

Minnesota Vikings Foundation Golf Tournament gives back

 

By CRAIG PETERS

 

MINNEAPOLISMore than 30 Vikings Legends linked up earlier this month for the Minnesota Vikings Foundation's Golf Tournament presented by Molson Coors.

It was the sixth consecutive year for The Meadows at Mystic Lake to host the fundraiser that enables foun- dation initiatives like the Vikings Table charity food truck to positively impact the community.

 

SCHEELS, Viking Lakes, PXG, Little Six Casino, Mystic Lake Casino and Molson Coors offered fun activities for golfers to play for chances to win prizes between holes. Jim and Cody Edgeworth Insurance also spon- sored the event that raised more than $250,000. 

"The Minnesota Vikings Foundation is all about youth health and education," said Minnesota Vikings Foun- dation Executive Director Brett Taber. "We always love to remind our donors and sponsors that they're supporting programs like the Vikings Table food truck, which has served over 30,000 meals to at-risk youth in our community. Today is all about giving back and helping our community that needs it the most."

The event also was about welcoming home Vikings Legends who helped foster a culture of giving back during their playing days that has continued.

Steve Hutchinson, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 who was enshrined last summer, returned to Minnesota for the tournament. The backswings brought back memories of participating in a similar event when he was with the team.

"You take a sense of pride in knowing that once you're a Viking, you're always in the Vikings family," Hutch- inson told Vikings Entertainment Network's Tatum Everett. "The Wilfs have done a great job since they've taken ownership of realizing that there's more than just the product on the field. It's the responsibility of the organization to use its platform to help the community in any way possible, so it doesn't surprise me that it's grown the way it has.

"There is a trickle-down effect," Hutchinson added. "I think everybody from the top down knows the respon- sibility and genuinely embraces it and appreciates it."

The five-time First-Team All-Pro who totaled 169 regular-season starts with Seattle (68), Minnesota (89) and Tennessee (12) from 2001-12 said he's enjoyed connecting with Minnesota's newcomers, including Head Coach Kevin O'Connell and offensive line coach Chris Kuper.

Kuper started 79 of 90 regular-season games played for the Broncos from 2006-13. He spent the past three seasons assisting Denver's offensive line under Mike Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard who had been Hutch- inson's head coach in Tennessee.

"I met Coach Kuper the other day at the hotel. We were discussing o-line stuff, as we usually do. … We're both former players, played in a different era," Hutchinson said. "It's really a lot of complaining, just talking about how things were and kids these days don't know what it's like. Every generation does the same thing.

"He had the opportunity to coach under Mike Munchak … so everything Kuper was taught … I think he knows the way to do it, so I'm excited to see what he has in store," Hutchinson added.

Hutchinson said he's watched a lot of golf lately, especially major tournaments, but he has come to the conclusion he doesn't play or practice enough to "actually be good."

That change in expectations has added to his enjoyment.

"You get older, and you think you get a little wiser, and you go, 'Well, how can you be great at something you don't do so much?' So I stopped trying to worry about it," Hutchinson said. "I just try to get good shots. I don't need to string them together. I don't need to win a hole on my own. That's why scrambles and tourna- ments like this, the format is pretty forgiving. You can leave here feeling good about yourself because you're not chasing your ball all over the place because you're using somebody else's good shot, so you kind of boost your ego."

Steve Jordan flew in from Arizona to participate for the second year in a row.

The former tight end enjoyed reuniting with teammates like fellow Vikings Ring of Honor member Joey Browner, as well as players who have followed. Jordan described his golf game as "decent on occasion."

"The only thing that's consistent about it is I'm inconsistent, but I have a lot of fun with it, so it's cool," Jordan said. "I know over the years the Vikings have done a lot in the community, so this is an opportunity for us to come together and raise some money, have some fun and generate a little more community engagement. That's a win, win, win."

Linebacker Ed McDaniel readily admitted, "I'm a horrible golfer, but you get out of the house for four or five hours, and you might as well enjoy yourself."

The broader goal of the day wasn't as lost on McDaniel as some of his golf balls.

"We all have to give back. Someone gave to me. I was fortunate enough to play in college and then with the Vikings for 10 years and still am fortunate," McDaniel said. "If we don't help the next generation, if we don't help someone behind us, where are we going to be?"

MINNESOTA MOURNS

Minnesota mourns

Marion Barber III

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Barber competed for Minnesota from 2001-04 and ranks fifth all-time in rushing yards with 3,276

The University of Minnesota football program is mourning the death of former Gopher great Marion Barber III, who was found deceased in his apartment in Texas on June 22.. He was 38 years old. 

"Marion was one of the best to ever play at Minnesota, and he is a big reason why many people are Gopher fans today," said head coach P.J. Fleck. "The Barber family is synonymous with Gopher football and we are absolutely heartbroken for Marion Jr., Karen, Dom, Thomas and the entire family. We will do everything we can to support the family during this difficult and tragic time."

Barber competed for Minnesota from 2001-04 and ranks fifth all-time in rushing yards with 3,276. His 35 rushing touchdowns rank second in school history and his 575 career carries ranks seventh. 

Barber rushed for 1,196 yards and 17 scores in 2003 as the Gophers went 10-3. It was the first time that Minnesota had won 10 or more games in a season since 1905. 

Barber was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft with the 109th overall pick. He would play seven seasons in the NFL
six with Dallas and one with Chicagobefore retiring in 2012. He played in 99 career games and rushed for 4,780 yards and 53 touchdowns. He added 1,330 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions. Barber was selected to the 2007 Pro Bowl in 2007 after rushing for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns for Dallas. 

Barber's father, Marion Jr., and two brothers, Dom and Thomas, all played for Minnesota in college as well. Marion Jr., played running back from 1977-80 and ranks seventh all-time in program history with 3,094 rushing yards. Dom was a defensive back from 2004-07 and notched 187 career tackles. Thomas, who is currently an Offensive Graduate Assistant for the Gophers, played linebacker from 2016-19. He ended his career with 274 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.

Marion Barber III

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