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Fran Tarkenton: Todd Gurley can be as good as Jim Brown

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David Goldman/Associated Press
Georgia running back Todd Gurley is drawing high praise coming off his impressive 2014 debut.

Just a couple of days after former Georgia great Herschel Walker declared Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley the best back in the college game, Fran Tarkenton made Walker's compliment look like a back-handed one.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Georgia Bulldog invoked the name Jim Brown -- violating the unwritten, unspoken mandate that no running back ever be compared to Jim Brown -- in assessing just what Georgia has in Gurley.

"I've never seen a running back dominate like he did," Tarkenton told radio host Chris Dimino of 680 The Fan, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I played against a guy named Jim Brown, the greatest running back that ever lived. There is no doubt about it. Todd Gurley can be as good as Jim Brown."

Dimino asked for clarification, and Tarkenton repeated that Gurley can be as good as Brown, who broke every meaningful NFL rushing record over a nine-year career that ended in 1965.

Gurley (6-foot-1, 226 pounds) ran for a career-high 198 yards against Clemson on Saturday and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, too, making for a memorable season debut in what could be his last year of college football. Gurley is a junior and thus eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft if he foregoes his final year of NCAA eligibility.

Comparing a college player to one of pro football's all-time greats is a limb most would never have the nerve to stand on. Aside from comparing the players, it's equally difficult to compare eras. Gurley will enter the NFL no fewer than 50 years after Brown's departure from the league, and the role of the NFL running back has changed immensely over that time.

Nevertheless, Tarkenton is out on that limb.

And he'll probably get lonely out there.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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