When then-Browns president Mike Holmgren dismissed Jim Brown from his front-office role in 2010, the Hall of Fame running back and Cleveland legend never forgot the slight.
Holmgren left the organization after the 2012 season, replaced by a new regime that included owner Jimmy Haslam, president Joe Banner, general manager Mike Lombardi and coach Rob Chudzinski.
On Tuesday, word leaked that the team was bringing Brown back into the fold. On Wednesday, Brown and Haslam held a news conference for the official announcement. It was a chance to mend fences and look to the future.
Brown, 77, returns to the front office as a special advisor where he will be heavily involved with the city -- the schools, inner-city kids and community events. He'll also work with Browns players.
“I am excited to be back and a part of a franchise that will always be very close to my heart,” Brown said. “I want to thank Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner for giving me this chance to return to the organization and the great city of Cleveland, whose fans are the best in the NFL and who always have supported me. I look forward to getting started and once again make a difference, not just with the franchise but in the northeast Ohio community.”
Haslam -- who has been in the news recently because his truck-stop company, Pilot Flying J, is under federal investigation for fraud -- called Brown's return "a very special day in Cleveland Browns history."
"Jim Brown is one of the most iconic figures, not just in Cleveland, but the entire NFL,” Haslam continued. “His playing career still stands as one of the most remarkable in league annals, and his work in the community since his retirement, especially with our youth, has been just as impressive. He will be a tremendous asset to our organization, and we are thrilled that he will be representing the Browns in many different capacities.”
Brown said Haslam has shown him and his wife the "utmost respect," adding, "I like the new ownership. I respect new ownership. I will stand by new ownership come hell or high water."
Brown also noted that "everybody who thought I had no value is gone" from the organization.
“I'm very happy to be back,” Brown said. “I have a great respect for the city, for the way the fans have treated me.”