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Jim Brown, the Pro Football Hall-of-Famer generally recognized as the greatest running back of all-time, visited the Hall of Champions (my day job) on Thursday and talked about a range of subjects from race in America, Don Imus, his anti-gang Amer-I-Can program and modern-day showboating athletes.

He also talked about LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers’ 2006 NFL MVP running back. The two had a chance encounter in the bowels of Qualcomm Stadium the morning the game between the Cleveland Browns and Chargers.

It was all interesting stuff, and some of it I’ll share later. But here’s what he said about meeting LT:

“It was a beautiful experience for me. This young man gave me more respect than any young person in my life. At the height of his career, he was humble enough to make me feel I had done something great. We exchanged ideas and concepts. I was hugely impressed with meeting him. He has an impeccable attitude.

“During the game, I studied his running style. If they slant him off tackle, he’s got the vision to cut all the way back and he can do it without changing his stride. If he has the gap off tackle, he can do that. If he has to slow up but not break stride and go outside, he can do that. I said, ‘This guy has tremendous talent that God gave him. That quickness and speed and ability to run that type of play and utilize those options is as good as anybody I’ve ever seen utilize them. That’s a rare thing to see. He has strength in his shoulders. He has the ability to throw the ball. He has the ability to catch the ball.

“Also something that is interesting, he has the ability to be patient. In our game, he didn’t carry the ball much in the beginning. Then in third quarter they turned him loose and he broke the game open. They were setting things up. I noticed all of those qualities. I looked at success of the team. This guy is a superstar. If he was selfish, he would interfere with the fact he wasn’t getting the ball right away. But he understood the value of what he’s doing.”

TOM SHANAHAN

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