Browns Notes: Brown Pleads for Vets

In Canton, HOF running back Jim Brown asked the NFL to do more for retired players.

Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown used Gene Hickerson's induction in Canton Saturday as a platform for getting increased pension and medical benefits for retired players.

Hickerson, 72, played for the Browns from 1958-60 and 1962-73. He is battling Alzheimer's and vascular dementia and is confined to a wheelchair.

"We're trying to get the right medical care for all our old warriors now," Brown said. "We're trying to fight the League and the Players' Association for a better pension plan.

"What better example can you have than a man going into the Hall of Fame who had concussions that never were reported? Are we going to argue whether they were football related? That should not be the argument. People need help and he was one of our warriors. It should make a lot of people think. Let the good come out of what is happening for Gene. That's the way I'm thinking."

HONORING THE BROWNS: Army Sgt. Richard Zurga, from the Cleveland suburb of Eastlake, was at practice Aug. 3 after serving 51 weeks in Iraq to present the Browns with an American Flag and a Browns flag that flew over a fire station in the town of Al Qayyarah. Coach Romeo Crennel was honored by his gift. The Browns presented him with a Charlie Frye '9' jersey autographed by the entire team.

During his visit Zurga met and shook hands with Jim Brown. "I'm honored," Zurga told him. "You're the best that ever played."

"No," Brown answered. "I'm honored."

COVER BOY: Browns RB Jamal Lewis is on the cover of the Sports Illustrated fantasy football issue. He is the first Browns player on the cover of S.I. since Bernie Kosar in 1988.

Tim Couch was on the cover wearing a Browns jersey in a pre-draft issue in 1999 and in 1995 an artist's sketch of Art Modell punching a dog was on the cover after Modell announced he was moving the team, but as far as actually being on the roster goes Lewis is the first to be on the magazine's cover in nearly 20 years.

EXPENSIVE MEDICINE: Ryan Tucker was to make $2.55 million in 2007. His four-game suspension for violating the league's steroids policy is costing him $600,000. He is not appealing the suspension.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not going to say I'm as good as I was (in 2003) but I'm smarter now, more patient with my running style and I'm much wiser. That's what a veteran offers to a team and to this position." - Running back Jamal Lewis.

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