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Notes: Hall of Fame exhibit to honor history of Browns

Miss seeing the Browns on the field? Did the return to the playoffs last season rekindle memories of the glory days? Need to brush up on franchise history?

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has the remedy, as it will host “A Legacy Unleashed” from March 15 through April 21. The new, temporary, multiarea exhibit will celebrate the “rich history” of the Browns.

It will feature artifacts from the franchise’s eight championships, celebrate the anniversaries of the NFL titles in 1954 and ’64, recognize Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown’s influence in today’s game and spotlight the role of Marion Motley and Bill Willis in the reintegration of football. Former Browns players will appear every weekend.

“No fan base supports its team with more passion than Browns fans,” Jim Porter, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said in the news release. “This exhibit will give thousands of fans, not only in Northeast Ohio but across the country, an opportunity to celebrate the unique history of a franchise that dominated pro football from the moment it took the field in 1946. Rooting for the Browns — through the good times and the not-so-good times — has never wavered across the many generations of people who have wrapped themselves in the colors of orange and brown.”

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The bronze busts of the 18 Browns Hall of Famers and the championship jewelry that followed the franchise’s eight titles will be on display.

Hall of Famers Ozzie Newsome and Joe DeLamielleure will appear during the closing weekend April 19-20 and participate in a “chalk talk.” Bernie Kosar and Peyton Hillis will be part of the opening weekend March 16-17, including an autograph session.

Hanford Dixon, Phil Dawson, Felix Wright (March 22-23), Greg Pruitt, Joshua Cribbs, Eric Metcalf, Dino Hall, Gerald “Ice Cube” McNeil (April 5-6) and Reggie Langhorne and Webster Slaughter (April 12-13) are also confirmed to appear. Other former players could be added to the lineup.

Access to the exhibits will be included in a Hall of Fame ticket, while the chalk talks and autograph sessions will require an additional ticket.

A STRONG PLEA

Nearly a year after the death of Hall of Famer Jim Brown, good friend and former teammate John Wooten is calling for Brown’s No. 32 to be retired by the NFL.

“There’s no greater football player who’s ever played in this league than Jim Brown,” Wooten said in an interview with journalist Lenny Moon. “And therefore, I’m asking publicly and privately for the NFL to retire his number, similar to what Major League Baseball did for one of my greatest heroes, Jackie Robinson. What the NBA did for the great Bill Russell.

“Retire No. 32. No one should wear that jersey anymore. That number should be retired forever.”

In 2023, before Brown’s death, the league started the Jim Brown Award, which goes to the winner of the yearly rushing title.

Brown faced several accusations of violence toward women during his life, which could affect the league’s decision.

LONG TRIP

The Browns are a prime candidate to open the season against the Philadelphia Eagles in Brazil on Friday, Sept. 6.

The NFL announced the Eagles would play one of their “home” games in Sao Paulo in the league’s South American debut. The Browns are scheduled to play a road game vs. the Eagles and make sense for this trip.

As the NFL expands its international presence and schedule, the Browns’ last trip abroad was to London in 2017. The league is unlikely to schedule an NFC East opponent away from Philadelphia, so the Steelers and Packers are believed to be the other top choices.

The NFL season will start Thursday, Sept. 5, with the Super Bowl champion Chiefs hosting a game in Kansas City. The Eagles game will be the first Friday night game on opening weekend in more than 50 years.

MONEY MATTERS

The Browns got good news when the NFL announced the 2024 salary cap was set at $255.4 million, a record $30 million jump from 2023.

The Browns remain about $7.8 million over the cap, according to overthecap.com, and must be in compliance when the league year begins March 13. They’ll be able to create space by restructuring contracts, and general manager Andrew Berry said after the season they have enough flexibility to make any additions they deem necessary.

** The Browns have until May 2 to decide whether to pick up the guaranteed fifth-year option on cornerback Greg Newsome II’s rookie contract. Newsome was the No. 26 pick in 2021 and has started 39 of 41 games with two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.

His fifth-year option is $13.38 million for 2025.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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