New head coach Hue Jackson mentioned Tuesday he'll rely on Brown's wisdom as he tries to turn Cleveland around from its losing ways, per Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot.
"It humbles me to be honored in this manner," said Brown. "Dee and Jimmy Haslam, thank you for the respect and love. Your investment in Cleveland is unparalleled. To the fans of the Cleveland Browns, I guess I'll always be with you—thank you."
Team owner Jimmy Haslam and his wife, Dee, also released a joint statement within the Browns' official news release:
Everyone admires the incredible impact that Jim Brown has made for Cleveland, the Browns and the NFL throughout his lifetime, and we have had the special opportunity to know and learn from his contributions to our team on a personal level, as well. It is only fitting that one of the most iconic professional football players and members of Cleveland and the Browns is commemorated with this statue as he will always be such a permanent fixture in our city.
Brown has served as a special adviser to the team since 2013 and is celebrating his 80th birthday Wednesday. NFL Network will honor him with a special program Wednesday evening beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Happy 80th Birthday to @ProFootballHOF and @Browns legend @JimBrownNFL32! https://t.co/zhGg6Q7Z7W2016-2-17 15:15:14
During nine seasons for Cleveland from 1957 through 1965, Brown put up monster numbers with 12,312 yards rushing and 106 touchdowns to go with 262 receptions, 2,499 yards and 20 more scores.
Seasons were only 12 games through Brown's first four years and were lengthened to 14 contests to the conclusion of his playing days. That goes to show how impressive it is for Brown to be ninth on the all-time NFL rushing list.
As the Browns attempt to change a culture that's created a poor on-field product, perpetual regime change and fan discontentment since the franchise's return to the NFL in 1999, they're doing well to associate with the organization's generational talent.
Brown is a beacon of hope from Cleveland's gridiron glory days, helping the city to its last major sports championship in 1964. His statue will serve as a steady reminder of the heights the Browns once reached as they seek to bring a spark to Cleveland as Brown's teams once did.