Jim Brown returns to LI as new part owner of Lizards

NFL Hall of Famer and native Long Islander

NFL Hall of Famer and native Long Islander Jim Brown speaks prior to the Long Island Lizards' game against the Ohio Machine at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium. (June 1, 2012) (Credit: Barry Sloan)

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It is one of Long Island athletics' most famous images but one that hasn't been seen here for many years: Manhasset's own Jim Brown in a No. 32 jersey.

Brown, 76, lives in Southern California, but he was at Hofstra on Friday night to watch the Long Island Lizards lacrosse team, which he now part owns, defeat the Ohio Machine, 20-10, to improve to 2-2. Brown watched from a suite at Shuart Stadium in his new No. 32 green and black Lizards jersey. He also went into the stands to sign autographs for a horde of young fans.

A 1953 Manhasset grad, Brown not only became a Pro Football Hall of Famer after a nine-year career with the Cleveland Browns, but also a national Lacrosse Hall of Famer for his career at Manhasset and Syracuse, where he was a first-team All-American his senior year.

Brown's Long Island visits have come sparingly since he left Manhasset, so he was thrilled to be back.

"All these thoughts are running through my mind, but they're all good because those were my formative years," he said about his high school years. "And I loved them."

Brown was part of an investment group that purchased the MLL Lizards for about $1.5 million.

"[The Lizards] are really trying to do something for the community," Brown said. "Trying to bring great professional lacrosse to Long Island and me having an opportunity to be a part of something that's Long Island . . . I'm going to enjoy it."

Brown also has a goal: "We're hopefully going to give a lot of youngsters the impetus to play lacrosse. A lot of minorities do not have the exposure to it; we want to make that a possibility now."

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