The death Thursday of Jim Brown, whose running talent and statistics were incomparable for years after his retirement from the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns, prompts a flashback.
The sport was lacrosse. He was playing in an all-star game at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Field. At age 12, I had watched innumerable college games. Never before or since have I watched a better athlete. He was unstoppable.
Brown scored five goals. He ran around and through opponents. Stick checks just bounced off his powerful arms. He faced the best that college lacrosse could produce. Yet, he stood out.
I followed his pro football career. He was an offensive force that few teams could match. His speed and power became redundant on NFL highlight films.
One last comment: I thought he was a compelling movie actor, particularly in the heralded World War II film, “The Dirty Dozen.” Though not a drama school-trained actor, he impressed me with his cinematic ability. Critics might disagree.
Jim Brown lived to 87. He led a life filled with athletic excellence and acting credentials. His civil rights activism was notable.
I will never forget his exploits on a legendary lacrosse field in Baltimore.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. After 44 years in Easton, Howard and his wife, Liz, moved in November 2020 to Annapolis, where they live with Toby, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel who has no regal bearing, just a mellow, enticing disposition.