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Jim Brown rejoins Cleveland Browns as special advisor

Jim Brown is back on the Cleveland Browns' payroll.

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Browns owner Jimmy Haslam announced Wednesday that the Hall of Fame running back has rejoined the franchise as a special advisor, mending a decades-long relationship that grew strained under former owner Randy Lerner.

"To have '32' back on our team ... is tremendously important, and it goes a long way toward what we're trying to accomplish," Haslam told reporters, per the Akron Beacon Journal.

"Player engagement is where you'll see me most of the time," said Brown, 77, who also will work with Cleveland's schools, inner-city children and long-suffering fan base.

"Everybody that thought I had no value is gone," Brown said, per The Plain Dealer, a not-so-subtle jab at former team president Mike Holmgren, who marginalized the legendary player during his failed run with the franchise.

After Haslam assumed control last season, he went out of his way to engage Brown. On Wednesday, the NFL great vowed to stand by the team's ownership "come hell or high water," perhaps an indirect reference to the meaty string of lawsuits faced by Haslam's non-football interest, Pilot Flying J.

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Brown acknowledged he and Haslam aren't the type to bite their tongues, but the legendary icon said he'd be "more under control" in his new role. Haslam boasted about Brown as a figure still widely respected by today's players.

For a team that clings ever-tightly to its history, it makes sense for the Browns to embrace what Brown means to this franchise. He's a reminder of what the Browns once were -- and what they hope to be again -- in his lifetime.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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