Paul Brown shares his thoughts on his 1963 firing

By Steve Stout - [email protected]

After Cleveland Browns’ owner Art Modell dismissed Paul Brown as head coach following the 1962 season, Brown received several calls and letters of support from fellow NFL coaches.

The firing was shocking considering that Brown had won NFL titles with the Browns in 1950, 1954 and 1955, and he was considered one of the greatest coaches in the league’s history.

Clark Shaughnessy, father of the modern T-formation and at the time, an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears, wrote to Brown in March of 1963: “… it was publicized all over the country that the reason for your severance from the institution you created was entirely due to the disloyalty of some of the Brown players, notably, Jim Brown.

“Inasmuch as I belong to the ‘old school,’ this flagrant disloyalty on the part of the Brown players is repulsive to me … it certainly reflects on the character of the owner of the Cleveland Browns to listen and be influenced by such acts and words of disloyalty.

“No football team was ever consistently successful unless it was imbued by that, perhaps now outmoded, thing called loyalty.”

Paul Brown responded to Shaughnessy’s letter a few weeks later: “You have this situation well analyzed. I have just completed two difficult years and I just hope some good may come from the recent incident.

“The modern professional athlete is very often a difficult person these days. I find myself drawn to get back in the game, yet I wonder what it’s all coming to. I guess that only time will determine my future.

“This whole thing has been a tremendous blow to my family and me, but it begins to look now like we’ll make it!”

Brown, of course, ended up founding the Cincinnati Bengals, who played their first season in 1968.


Trivia Time – Arthur McBride paid the All-America Football Conference $50,000 to land the Cleveland franchise.

This week’s question – Clark Shaughnessy was the head coach of which NFL team in 1948-49?

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