Last night I read the story in the Plain Dealer about Jim Brown's decision to skip the ceremony for the new Ring of Honor at Cleveland Browns Stadium. I was wondering what the bigger piece of news is in that statement.
On one hand, there seems to be a major problem in the relations between the team and Jim Brown since Holmgren took over. From an outsider's perspective I believe that it's important for the team to have regular, meaningful contact with the great Browns players from the winningest era in Browns football. Especially the input from the man many consider to be the greatest RB of all time. Naturally, I know nothing of what happens behind the scenes. It seems Holmgren and Brown don't see eye to eye. Lets hope they can fix that soon for the benefit of the franchise.
On the other hand, I'm really excited to hear about the creation of the Ring of Honor. It's an aspect of Lambeau that I've always liked. It's something that I've wanted to see at Browns Stadium for a while now and for a few reasons.
One of the reasons I've wanted the Ring of Honor is for the influence it can have on the players. The current and future Browns players should have a regular reminder of the greatness of this franchise. They should be reminded of the amount of championships won. They should be reminded of the amount of Hall of Famers that have played for this team. It should serve as a motivator for the players. They should strive to live up to the standards set. They should strive to one day see their name listed on that Ring of Honor. (I think we've got two guys in Joe Thomas and Josh Cribbs who could one day see their names on the Ring of Honor. That having been said, I think it's a shame that there haven't been any HOF caliber Browns players since Ozzie Newsome retired.)
I think that the Ring of Honor could play a nice role in free agency. Perhaps it's the optimist in me that hopes that when visiting teams come in and see those players' names and the accomplishments of this franchise then they would want to one day be a part of that legacy as well. The same could be said for prospective draft picks that the team brings in to work out.
To a lesser extent, I think the Ring of Honor could influence the opinions of the media and rival fans. We know how much the media and football fans across the country have been down on the Browns. They've had good reasons for their opinions since 1999. But you still get those people who make comments that basically say that Browns have never down anything. The kind of people who don't seem to think that championships existed for football prior to the Super Bowl. Some of them think that non-Super Bowl championships don't count. Who knows what's going through their heads. Maybe it'll make them think twice or maybe it won't. If it gives the team back a little of the respect it deserves then it's worth it. Nonetheless, it's food for thought and the added reminder of the legacy of this franchise is duly needed for the present and the future of the team.
I'm sure that Mike Holmgren was instrumental in the establishment of the Ring of Honor given his days coaching at Lambeau. We should send a shout out to him and everyone else involved for creating another vital link to the greatness of the franchise.