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Kevin Stefanski on Jim Brown: We lost somebody very important to the Browns and the league

Michael Smith and Michael Holley take a look back at NFL legend Jim Brown, go through his resume of greatness and his complicated legacy with protest and women.

Shortly after the Browns named Kevin Stefanski their head coach in 2020, he received a phone call from Hall of Famer Jim Brown. Stefanski, who wasn’t born until 17 years after the running back retired, immediately called his father, Ed, who idolized Brown.

“I very quickly called my dad, and he couldn’t believe it,” Stefanski said, via Anthony Poisal of the team website. "[Being a Jim Brown fan] was not uncommon for a lot of people growing up at that age. I don’t care where you were growing up. You became a Jim Brown fan early on in your life. So, for my dad, . . . he loved Wilt Chamberlain, and he loved Jim Brown.”

Stefanski’s news conference Wednesday was his first since Brown’s death last week. Brown, who was 87, left an indelible mark on Cleveland, the Browns and the NFL.

“I want to start with my very sincere condolences to Monique, to the entire Brown family, to all of the friends and family and fans of Jim Brown,” Stefanski said. “As you all know, we lost somebody very important to our franchise, to our league, to our society. The impact that he had was immeasurable.”

Last August, as the Browns were headed to Canton for a tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Stefanski had “Jim Brown: A Football Life” playing on team buses.

“It’s my job to continue to educate our guys on what he’s meant to our franchise, to our league,” Stefanski said. “You stand on the shoulders of giants, and that’s Jim Brown.”