He finished his career with 12,312 rushing yards in 118 games, a record that wasn’t broken until 1984, when Walter Payton went past him in 18 more games and 451 more carries. Brown’s career record of 104.3 rushing yards per game remains the 56-game hitting streak of NFL records. (Adrian Peterson, 30, would have to average almost 1,900 yards per season for the next three full seasons to tie Brown’s mark; it would take more than 2,500 yards for Peterson to do it in one year).
“And all of this comes with a bold-faced ellipsis. On a summer morning at the Vikings complex in the suburbs southwest of the Twin Cities, Paul Wiggin, 79, sat grading videotape in the office where he works as personnel consultant for the team. Wiggin and Brown came to Cleveland the same year, 1957. “Jim retired two years before I did,” said Wiggin. “He could have played 10 years beyond me if he wanted.”