PLL partners with Lacrosse Hall of Famer Jim Brown

The Premier Lacrosse League is setting up for its inaugural season to get underway, and with training camps set to get underway in the coming days, the league announced a new partnership with NFL and US Lacrosse Hall of Famer Jim Brown.

In honour of Brown, the PLL will be naming its Most Valuable Player award after him.

“I’m very proud to be a part of the PLL and its commitment and dedication to the game of lacrosse,” Brown said. “I will be very active in support of this great effort. My congratulations to all of those who have worked very hard to make this recognition of lacrosse a reality. I also have a great appreciation that the MVP award will be in my name. The sport of lacrosse has a rich history, dating back hundreds of years to the Iroquois Nation, and I'm humbled to continue to grow the game.”

Brown is best known for his prowess on the gridiron. In nine professional seasons with the Cleveland Browns, the running back racked up 14,811 all-purpose yards with 126 touchdowns in 118 career games. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler, eight-time first-team All-Pro, and the league MVP on three separate occasions. Brown also won a Super Bowl with the Browns in 1964 - which is the organization’s last championship victory. Cleveland eventually retired Brown’s No. 32.

During his collegiate career at Syracuse University, Brown amassed 2,211 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Orange. He received Second- and First-Team All-American honours in 1955 and 1956, respectively.

Football was far from the only Brown played, however. During his collegiate career, he also was a basketball, track, and lacrosse star.

He was named a Second-Team All-American in lacrosse during his sophomore season, and in his senior year, Brown finished second in scoring in the nation with 43 goals in 10 games. He was given First-Team All-American honours in 1957.

Brown was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983, becoming the first-ever African-American to receive the honour.

Many consider Brown to be the greatest to ever play the game of lacrosse. Brown reportedly once said, “I'd rather play lacrosse six days a week and football on the seventh.”

The 83-year-old will also join the league as an advisor, as well as an advocate for the PLL Assist program, which helps in various charitable endeavours.

Brown and PLL co-founder and chief strategy officer Paul Rabil have a prior relationship. The legend joined a group of investors that purchased the MLL’s New York Lizards in 2012. The Lizards acquired Rabil in 2015.

“Jim Brown is the greatest and most influential figure in the history of lacrosse, and it’s an honor and privilege for our organization to name the MVP award after him,” Rabil said. “Among countless career accolades, Mr Brown’s 2014 Muhammed Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award demonstrates his impact beyond sports, and as an organization, we will look to Mr Brown as a guiding voice for our brand ethos and strategy as we embark on our inaugural season.”

The PLL season will get underway on June 1. The inaugural award honouring Brown will be presented on Sept. 21 during the league’s championship weekend at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia.

Austin Owens