Legendary Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown has remained active within the organization has a team spokesman of sorts, and his title of executive adviser has given him an official voice within the team.
But now that Mike Holmgren has taken over as the Browns' president and grand pooh-bah of all things football, Brown has taken on a somewhat lesser role. He no longer holds the executive adviser title, according to Jeff Schudel of The News-Herald.
After a recent meeting with Brown, Holmgren has decided that the Hall of Fame running back, who played for Cleveland from 1957-65, will remain involved with the team but not in an official capacity. The news was confirmed by Browns public relations director Neal Gulkis.
"He's still part of the Browns family," Gulkis said. "He's the greatest running back of all time. He'll talk with Randy (Browns owner Randy Lerner), Mike and Eric (head coach Eric Mangini) and the players like he has in the past. He spoke at the rookie minicamp. His role hasn't really changed."
While this might not be huge news, we think it's a good move on Holmgren's part. It's sometimes risky to allow former players to have too much influence on an organization, especially if he is not involved with the team on a day-to-day basis. Brown is certainly deserving of the deference he has received over the years, but it seems more appropriate that he no longer acts in an official capacity. We can't think of another player who has had similar influence on his former club, and there's good reason for that preference; no matter what a player has done on the field, an organization must move on once he is retired.
Again, it's good to make it known that all former players — especially ones with careers as brilliant as Brown's — to remain close to the team. But it is not healthy for a team to allow any former player to have undue influence on current players and even coaches and administrators, as Brown has had over the years.