In recent years, Joe Namath has held the title of not just the New York Jets' most famous player, but also their most publicized critic.
We're now seeing Jim Brown, who sounded off on the Cleveland Browns this week, take a similar course.
Brown reiterated his belief -- first documented the day of the 2012 NFL Draft -- that Trent Richardson, chosen with the third overall pick, is an average running back. He later took aim at Browns president Mike Holmgren.
"When you think of greatness and the great backs, they all had some individual traits that you can identify -- quickness, balance, power, speed," Brown told ESPNCleveland.com on Wednesday night. "I think the kid is a good working back, and if you've got everything else around him he can play his role. But when it comes to 'outstanding,' I don't see anything outstanding about him.
"It's not said in a cruel manner. He's very efficient, and that's what you want."
Brown, 76, considers himself a "a Cleveland Brown forever," but has had several periods of discord with the franchise in the four-plus decades since he retired from the game. The most recent estrangement can be attributed to Holmgren's decision to dismiss Brown as an "executive advisor" two years ago.
Brown shot down the notion that any negative opinions about his former team are rooted in bitterness about his loss of employment.
"You're sitting on a mess," he said of the Browns' current situation. "You've got a guy (in Holmgren) that doesn't give interviews except in other cities. I ask all the people in Cleveland, do you get the impression that Mr. Holmgren wants to be there? If you do, then tell me."
We'd say it's time to get Brown and Holmgren in the same room, but a more subtle and patient approach might work better.