Many athletes retire when they feel their age is catching up to them. However, for Jim Brown, he decided to retire while he was at the peak of his career. At 30 years old, he stepped away from the football field to try and become a movie star.
At the time, no other player had run as many yards as he did at 12,312 yards, scored more touchdowns at 126, or rushing touchdowns at 106. He was iconic in every way, which is why he remains known as an NFL legend up until today.
Born on February 17, 1936, off the southern coast of Georgia, he was abandoned by his father when he was only two weeks old. His mother then left when he was two to become a domestic helper in New York.
It was his great-grandmother who raised Jim, and they shared a house with his grandmother, who was an alcoholic. When he was eight years old, his mom sent for him. This was the first time they saw each other in six years.
After studying high school at Manhasset High School, he studied at Syracuse. When he was a senior, he was first-team All-American in both football and across. He averaged 6.2 yards in running for 986 yards, which was third-most in the country despite their university only playing eight games, and scored 14 touchdowns.
He decided to enter the NFL draft, where he was Cleveland’s first-round draft choice at six overall. He won Rookie of the Year in 1957, leading all running backs with 942 yards.
BECOMING AN IMPORTANT PLAYER
The following year, he won Most Valuable Player after leading the entire league in rushing with 1527 yards and 18 touchdowns. However, he and the Browns lost the regular-season finale to the New York Giants.
In 1964, he and the Browns won the NFL championship. A year later in 1965, he won MVP once again and led his team to the finals, where they lost to the Packers. That year turned out to be his last in the NFL.
After his athletic career, he starred in at least 32 movies including “The Dirty Dozen” and “Ice Station Zebra.” Despite these, his greatest achievement remains in the sporting world where he was inducted into the Halls of Fame of Pro Football, College Football, and Lacrosse.
Despite his stellar career, he has been known for having a dark side. An 18-year-old once accused him of sexual assault after giving her a drink. He was found innocent by a jury.
He was also accused of throwing one of his girlfriends off a balcony in 1968, but the then-22-year-old refused to name him as the assailant. His charge of assault with intent to murder was ultimately dropped.
Through the years, he faced many more charges involving battery and sexual assault. The worst was in 1999 when Jim was convicted of smashing the window of his then-25-year-old wife Monique. He was, however, acquitted of making terrorist threats against her.
During the court proceedings, Monique decided to defend her husband. She claims she lied to detectives when she first said that she was beaten and threatened.
She also suggested that the police doctored the recording she made of the 911 call to make it seem as if her life was in danger.
At the time, their fight sprung from her suspicions that he was planning a trip to Miami to see his mistress. She admitted that when they were fighting, she was angry and wanted him to admit he was cheating on her.
In the end, the football player’s wife insisted that she lied during the 911 call, claiming the police were trying to get information out of her to try and build a criminal case against her husband. After that turbulent time, things got better and a lot more private for the couple.
Monique did not know her future husband when he was still in the NFL. In fact, she might not even remember him for being a stellar athlete. She is 38 years younger than him, her being 25 and him being 63 during the time he allegedly threatened her life.
They met in 1995 when she was 21 and he was 59. She worked as a model, making an appearance at a TV station in Buffalo, New York, that was also interviewing Jim. Despite their age difference, they’ve made their relationship work despite its challenges. She once said:
“We’ve had our ups and downs like any other marriage, we’ve been together for 22 years […] There’s no marriage of that length that hasn’t gone through things, but I’m far from abused.”
True enough, Monique proudly shares updates about their family with her followers on Instagram. Monique once shared a family photo of themselves standing closely against one another, with smiles on all of their faces.
They have two children, Aris and Kimberly, who are following in their dad’s footsteps. Fans see glimpses of their grown kids on Instagram thanks to the proud parents’ posts of them, usually enjoying the outdoors with one another.
FOLLOWING IN JIM’S FOOTSTEPS
Their daughter Kimberly played women’s football as a defensive end for the Atlanta Steam of the Legends Football League. She also works on her passions particularly assisting single mothers who want to pursue a college degree, something her dad once spearheaded an event on back in 1967.
Meanwhile, their son Aris got into the Hampton University Lacrosse Program just last year. He began playing lacrosse when he was in the 7th grade, and his skills only continued to progress, something that Monique often shares about on Instagram.
Now, he’s all set to complete Hampton University’s 5-year MBA program while playing on the lacrosse team. Being the son of an NFL legend, he knows he does not have to, but he wants to prove himself to the world that he is worthy of being recognized on his own.
Both Jim and Monique are supportive parents to their children. Despite being a football great, he never pressured his children to follow in his footsteps, and instead, he allows them to choose their own paths while guiding the way.