We’re still battling with the summer heat. And most of us are just starting to feel the effects of pennant fever. Well, at least those of us lucky enough to have our favorite teams still in the race are. But NFL training camps just got underway meaning a new season will be starting soon. So, with football starting up again across the country, I can’t think of a better time for naming my pick for all-time greatest football player. Die-hard football fans spend countless hours arguing the value of each position on a football team on both sides of the ball and its overall importance to team success. This played a large part in making this choice somewhat easier for me. For even when the team around him wasn’t that good, and even though the other team knew he was the only one carrying the “rock,” Jim Brown couldn’t be stopped. He was big enough to run through them, quick enough to run around them, and fast enough to run by them. Defenses would stack the line, load the box, totally selling out against the run, yet Jim Brown somehow found the first down marker or the goal line. James Nathaniel Brown was born to play football. And with his last name, there are many who would say it was inevitable that he became a Cleveland Brown. At 6′ 2″ and 232 lbs., Jim brown was as big or bigger than most of the linebackers and even a lot of the defensive lineman he played against. An All-American selection in college at Syracuse, where he also starred in basketball, track, and lacrosse. (Many call him the greatest lacrosse player of all-times.) Brown was the first round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns in 1957, led the league in rushing, and was the Rookie of the Year that season. Jim Brown led the league in rushing 8 out of 9 seasons. In the one “off” year when he didn’t, he still totaled just 4 yards shy of a thousand yard season. As stated before, even when defenses knew he was getting the ball, they still couldn’t stop him. He had the moves and breakaway speed of running backs 40 to 50 pounds smaller. And then suddenly, at the age of 30, without warning, in the prime of his career, Jim Brown walked away from the game to pursue his fledgling acting career. Those that played with and against him say he could have easily competed at the same high level for another 5 years or more. As it was, he left career marks that stood for decades after. The ones that were finally broken took those players more total years, games, and carries to do so than Jim Brown needed to set them. His career yards per carry (5.2) and yards per game (104.3) averages are still the standard. He played in 9 Pro Bowls in 9 seasons and was 1st team All-Pro in 8 of his 9 seasons. With his 262 career receptions for 2.499 yards and 20 touchdowns, his numbers compare with the greatest tight ends of his day. In his first 5 years in the league he returned 29 kickoffs with an average of 22.3 yards per return. Offensively, Jim Brown could do it all. He even threw 12 passes during his career and completed 4 of them with 3 going for touchdowns. Legendary linebacker Sam Huff and others have said that with his size, speed, and aggression, if Brown had instead played on defense, he would have no doubt still been the best in the game. As one player from Brown’s playing days said, “I was a player for my time. Jim Brown was a player for all times. In 1983, there was word going around that Brown was considering a comeback even though he was nearing 50 years of age. Though a ludicrous thought for most, there were many who believed the still phenomenal physical specimen that Jim Brown still was might just be the one to pull it off. He even openly challenged one of the NFL’s top running backs at that time to a 40 yard race to prove his ability to still compete at that level. Though the race or the return to football never came to fruition, there were many who still believe that Brown could have been successful in both. Jim Brown was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. For all of the above and more, I believe Jim Brown is the greatest football player of all-times.