Paul Brown’s 1945 contract surfaces on Ebay

By Steve Stout - [email protected]

A couple of recent offerings on Ebay shed some light on Paul Brown’s hiring as Cleveland’s coach in 1945 and his firing from that same job 17 years later.

A file copy of the contract Brown signed on Feb. 8, 1945 to “manage” the team that was to play in the All-America Football Conference shows that owner Arthur McBride paid Brown $1,000 per month while he was still in the Navy and $25,000 per year once Brown took over as general manager and head coach of the team that would become known as the Browns by the time the AAFC started in 1946.

Interestingly, the contract notes that “any dispute concerning the terms and provisions of this contract” would by resolved by Arch Ward, a sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune.

Why would a sportswriter have such power?

Because the All-America Football Conference was Ward’s idea, just like Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game was 12 years earlier.

Per the contract, Brown would also receive 15 percent of the team’s net profits starting with the end of the first season, and he would be granted “sole power, authority and discretion in the operation and management of said football team.”

Following the 1962 season, Brown was fired by then-owner Art Modell.

Featured next week in this space will be an insightful letter Brown wrote to a coaching colleague in early 1963.


Trivia Time – Cincinnati Reds TV commentator Chris Welsh attended St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.

This week’s question – How much did Arthur McBride pay the All-America Football Conference to have a Cleveland franchise?

By Steve Stout

[email protected]

Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @udcstout

Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @udcstout