BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots made a quick pit stop before leaving Cleveland on Sunday.
Following their 33-13 win over the Browns, head coach Bill Belichick had his team get off the bus and visit the statue of Hall of Famer Jim Brown. Running back LeGarrette Bloung shared the moment on social media on Sunday:
Belichick formed a bond with Brown during his head coaching tenure with the Browns, and explained the quick visit on Monday.
“I think, honestly, any person, football player or otherwise, can learn a lot from Jim Brown and what he represents and what he stands for,” Belichick told reporters on his Monday conference call. “But particularly as it relates to our football team, Jim Brown is, in my opinion, the greatest player that ever played.”
The future Hall of Fame coach did not stop his praise of Brown there.
“I’ve had an opportunity to have known Jim for over 20 years now. I met him when I was the coach at the Browns and just had so much more respect and appreciation for him knowing him well as a person and as a friend, even just as an observer from a distance, but I think he’s meant so much to this game,” Belichick continued. “He’s paved the way for all of us; players and coaches. [He’s] part of many people who have made professional football, the game of football, the great game that it is. I just felt like it was an opportunity for us as a team after the game to recognize and pay a tribute to Jim and all that he stands for, both in and out of football.”
The statue was erected earlier this year, and Belichick was surprised it took so long.
“It’s kind of remarkable that it hadn’t happened sooner, but regardless, I’m not sure how many of our players really understand or appreciate what he meant to the game and what he has meant to the game through his continued involvement not only with football, but with young football players, be they Browns players or just other youth that he interacts with primarily on the West coast but as we know he’s been involved in projects through his Amer-I-Can program throughout the country, which I’ve been very fortunate to witness and be a small part of. That’s why we did it and I’m glad they appreciated it and hopefully that’s something that’s part of their football career [and] will be one small memory [as] just the recognition of a great player and a great person and somebody who has really made the game better for all of us,” said Belichick.
“Honestly, I wish Paul Brown’s statue would’ve been right there with it because then we could have knocked out two birds with one stone. Paul Brown’s name is up there. Obviously, that’s who the franchise is named for and his name is up there on the stadium as part of the players that are recognized on that ring of honor there in the stadium,” the coach continued. “It’s a little special quirk for me when you think of Paul Brown, and you think of Jim Brown, and the Cleveland Browns who were named for Paul Brown and being in that stadium, not because I was the coach there, but because of what Paul Brown and Jim Brown did for professional football in that city. It’s a special place in my heart.”
Bill Belichick certainly loves himself some football history, and on Sunday, he made sure his team didn’t miss out on an opportunity to soak some in.