Nearly 50 years removed from his playing days, former Browns running back Jim Brown still follows the game of football closely, especially his former team. The Hall of Famer made his second appearance at Browns training camp today, his first since August 5.
Brown granted a number of media interviews, but one of the most interesting was his chat with Jeff Phelps and Andy Baskin on 92.3 The Fan. Brown hit on a number of topics, including importance of hitting, Mike Pettine, the team's running backs, and his charity, Amer-I-Can.
Brown did not discuss the quarterback situation with Baskin & Phelps, but he did comment on the competition in an interview with Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. He said: "I like both [Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer]. I like their personalities. I like their attitude. [Pettine] is in a great position, because if he makes a choice and it's not the right one, he has a second choice."
You can listen to the audio from Baskin & Phelps here, but I have transcribed the entire interview below.
Baskin & Phelps: "We talked to Kevin Mack earlier in the show about the running backs, and he said, I was having a conversation with Jim about that the other day.' What have you thought about the backs, with Ben Tate, Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, pretty big, young running backs?
Jim Brown: "I like the running backs. I like the physicality of them. I like their intelligence, I like their personality. I like the respect that they give. I definitely like the upside. With the right opportunity, they could really have an impact. And they have a good coach."
BP: What's impressed you the most about Mike Pettine?
JB: "Well, he takes responsibility. He is a man who understands that you have to win now and he's accepted that responsibility, so he's acting that way, and that's the way that he's coaching. He's not out there saying, 'I need four or five years.'"
BP: "The approach that this team has had, Jim, is that Pettine has stressed the physical aspect of football and being a tough-minded football team. It's kind of a throwback because you don't hear, even though it's still a big part of the game, many coaches come right out and say, 'We're going to be a tough, physical football team, and that's one thing we're trying to stress. Have you seen that reaching the players?"
JB: "I haven't been around long enough to be a judge of that. What I do know is that football is about hitting. You gotta think, but you gotta hit. And good teams hit you. And when you put that into your players, then you're going to be a competitor. I think he is from the old school of defense. He's a defensive-minded coach. When you deal with a defensive-minded coach, he's going to think of hitting people. We all should like that because when you do that, you're going to be in ball games. So that I really like about him. I say get after it. That means that we're going to play like Ronnie Lott."
BP: "That said, we watch these guys practice, they're a lot different from when you guys practiced in training camp. They're not hitting as much, there's no two-a-days. Do you think these guys are soft as far as practicing is concerned?"
JB: "No, I think what happens is that you have year-round football. We didn't have year-round football, we had time off. The union now is getting into it. So it's a different kind of game now. It's a business game. That's what where looking at."
BP: I just want to ask you about Amer-I-Can and what's going on, what Reggie and you are doing because I know, because I know that it's important to you."
JB: "Amer-I-Can? Oh my goodness, that's my heart. We're working to do some really good things with violence and education right now. We're going to use Cleveland as our second summit. We're going to call for a lot of different individuals to come here on a particular day and really raise a lot of money and deal with the education of our kids and making these neighborhoods safer than they are. The neighborhoods are not safe, and the quality of education is going down. Those two things will be the focal point."