NFL Hall of Famer and Cleveland Browns great Jim Brown says his 1964 championship ring that is being auctioned was taken from him.
"It was stolen from me many years ago, in the late 1960s," Brown told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Monday. "I'm surprised to hear that it's publicly for sale because whoever got it should know that I didn't give it up."
Josh Evans, the chairman of Lelands.com, responded to Brown's claims Tuesday, disputing that a stolen ring is being auctioned by his company.
"We never sell anything that has been stolen or not authenticated," Evans told the Pioneer Press. "It's unfortunate that [Brown] has gone in this direction, but it came from a family member who turned around and sold it."
Evans also disputed Brown's claims in an interview with TMZ.com.
Brown said he believed a police report was filed when it was discovered that it had been stolen.
Lelands.com had said the ring has actually been sold several times after it was passed down from Brown to a family member. The ring is currently owned by Evans. His auction house first sold the ring to a bidder in 1998 before buying it back again.
In the auction listing, Lelands.com claims that Brown vouched for its authenticity when the ring was auctioned 16 years ago, a notion Brown now disputes.
Brown says he wants the ring back.
"I'm going to definitely do whatever action is open to me because my property was stolen and I haven't authenticated anything," Brown told the Pioneer Press. "It's my property, so [Leland.com's sale] should be against the law.
"My friends are calling me and thinking that I sold the ring or something. Why would I sell my championship ring?''
Brown ran for 114 yards on 27 carries to help the Browns upset the Baltimore Colts 27-0 that day, which is the last time a Cleveland sports team had won a major sports title.
At the time, the ring made by L.G. Balfour wasn't so much the prize as much as the winning player shares of $8,000 ($61,400 in today's dollars).
But money wasn't everything to Brown, who retired at age 30 in 1966 after nine seasons in the league with one year and $60,000 left on his contract.