Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Rams pay tribute to military vets Sacrifices of armed forces have extra meaning for s

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Rams pay tribute to military vets Sacrifices of armed forces have extra meaning for s

    Rams pay tribute to military vets Sacrifices of armed forces have extra meaning for some team members.
    by BY JIM THOMAS [email protected] > 314-340-8197 , St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Normally at the end of practice, Rams players huddle up en masse in the middle of the field. Coach Steve Spagnuolo makes a few remarks about the day's work or the upcoming game. And that's it.

    But on Wednesday, Veterans Day, it took a little longer than usual. This time, the entire team kneeled, heads bowed. At the request of Spagnuolo, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was leading the Rams in prayer.

    "The team was just really saying a prayer and thanks for veterans," Spagnuolo said. "Not only the ones in the past, but the troops that are over there fighting for us now."

    Atogwe has no immediate family members in the military, but he has friends who have served.

    "I think it's important to honor the men and the women who protect our freedom - our earthly freedoms on a daily basis," Atogwe said. "We definitely said a prayer for them and just gave 'em thanks."

    Among others, the words hit home for defensive end Leonard Little, whose older brother, Sgt. Lamont Hughes, is currently in Afghanistan, leading an Army platoon.

    The words also hit home for linebacker James Laurinaitis, whose brother, Joey Laurinaitis, served in Iraq five years ago; and for quarterback Marc Bulger, who along with St. Louis radio personality Dave Glover donated time and money to refurbish the USO center at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

    "The more I meet service men and women, the more I respect them," Bulger said. "They're

    unbelievable people."

    But Atogwe's words perhaps hit home most of all for center Jason Brown.

    Brown recalled Wednesday a "pep talk" he received from his mother in August 2003. At the time Brown was going through some tough times at the University of North Carolina, where he played his college ball.

    But instead of getting the typical words of support that he would expect from a mother, she snapped at him. "You just need to shut up. Because none of what you're going through right now will ever compare to the sacrifice of what your brother is going through in Iraq."

    "She was right," Brown said. "My brother, he was dodging bullets in harm's way, putting his life on the line every single day. The same thing that thousands, tens of thousands of our troops (are doing), and hundreds of thousands of our vets have done in the past."

    Just a month or so after that lecture, Brown's older brother - Army Spc. Lunsford B. Brown II - was killed by mortar fire on Sept. 20, 2003 outside Baghdad. At first, Brown said he was in denial about his brother's death.

    "Time heals all things," Brown said. "And you have to believe that God has a purpose for everything and their life. And I know that my brother, the sacrifice that he has made, I know he's in a better place."

    Brown has a picture of his brother, in uniform, taped to his locker stall at Rams Park.

    "I think about that every day," Brown said. "I can't complain about anything. ... And you know what? We like to think that Football is a tough sport. A lot of the fans would like to think that Football is grueling. We hit pretty hard. You know what? Football isn't hard when you put things in perspective. Nothing of what we do in Football will compare to their sacrifice."

    Laurinaitis remembers how worried his family was when his brother was deployed to Iraq.

    "It's a scary time," he said. "I remember when the only time you could (communicate with) him was when he wrote you letters saying, 'There are mortars going off every night ... just keep praying for me.' You never really can comprehend until you have like a family member that's actually over there."

    Little keeps in touch via e-mail with his brother, who remains a loyal Rams fan thousands of miles away in Afghanistan. "He sees a lot of our games," Little said. "I don't know how. But he tries to keep up with our games as much as possible."

    Little tries not to think about the fact that his brother might be in danger every day.

    "Before he left, he told me not to worry about it," Little said. "But you can't help it. He is my big brother, so you can't help but think about what's going on over there."

    Joey Laurinaitis will be in attendance at Sunday's Rams game against the New Orleans Saints, cheering on his brother.

    Little said his brother is scheduled for a 30-day leave soon, and may be able to catch some Rams games in person in December.

    As for Lunsford B. Brown II, he never got to see his younger brother play in the NFL. But Jason Brown seems to have accepted that, and offered words of comfort to American families with loved ones serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "Find hope and find peace and faith knowing that the sacrifices of what they're going through right now, they're not lost and they're not in vain," Brown said. "That's why it's so important for our vets to be remembered. For our current troops to be remembered, recognized, and honored. And to let everyone know that their sacrifices will never be forgotten."


    Copyright 2009 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc. All Rights Reserve
    sigpic

  • #2
    Re: Rams pay tribute to military vets Sacrifices of armed forces have extra meaning f

    Lets go rams!!! I would like them see them win one more time before I have to go to Afghanistan, The saints game will be the last, hopefully not the last, game I will see... GO RAMS!!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams pay tribute to military vets Sacrifices of armed forces have extra meaning f

      Good luck Trevor...stay safe, and come talk when you can.

      My brother was over in Iraq a few years ago. It was a difficult time for him. I hope you are not in an area that has a lot of enemy interaction.
      sigpic

      Comment

      Related Topics

      Collapse

      • MauiRam
        Poignant moment for Jason Brown as soldiers visit Rams Park ..
        by MauiRam
        Bryan Burwell Friday, November 12, 2010 12:20 am

        They roamed the sidelines of Rams Park on this splendid Veterans Day afternoon as if this was the time of their lives. For the 150 U.S. soldiers who stood behind the yellow ropes just a few yards away from the practice field — some of them only a few days away from being deployed to the real battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan — this was a chance to spend the day as special invited guests and be thoroughly entertained watching their favorite NFL team practice for a few hours.

        This was one of those wonderfully rare moments when valiant American soldiers and their famous football warriors met, and no one was confused by their roles or comparative relevance. The soldiers loved their sports heroes. They cheered when Laurent Robinson made a nifty catch, tip-toeing along the sidelines as if it were a crucial first down in the playoffs. They were practically giddy at the sight of Sam Bradford as the young quarterback came near to pose for photographs and sign autographs.

        During one break midway through practice, one young soldier got close enough to Steven Jackson to congratulate him for breaking Eric Dickerson's franchise rushing record.

        "It's quite an accomplishment," the soldier in camouflage said.

        But like I said, no one here was confused at all about the relevance of the moment. The Rams players understood exactly how this works. People love them because they are the great warriors of the weekend, the men who live in a world full of pseudo-military jargon. But they know the difference between the battles they fight on Sundays where the casualties are measured in broken bones, bruised ribs and the occasional blown knee ligament, and the life-or-death struggles that these men and women will be dealing with very soon.

        So, while the soldiers loved their sports heroes, the sports heroes took the time Thursday to honor the soldiers.

        "All you can do is just thank them for the sacrifice they put on the line, the ultimate sacrifice, for us to have freedom," Jackson said.

        The Rams do this every Veterans Day. The community outreach department invites men and women from all branches of the armed forces to spend the day at Rams Park. They feed them and give them tours of the building and end the afternoon with practice and a meet-and-greet with the players.

        "I don't have anybody in my family that's in the service," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "But as far as I'm concerned, they're all family."

        And for the second year in a row, center Jason Brown was the first player to go over and meet and greet the soldiers and the last one to leave. This is not some mandatory contractual obligation for Brown. This is something that has deep meaning.

        Seven years ago, Brown's big brother, Lunsford Bernard Brown II, a 27-year-old...
        -11-12-2010, 12:29 AM
      • RamsInfiniti
        For doubters, Fakhir is not just a thoughtless pothead ....
        by RamsInfiniti
        Grambling product enjoys giving: Fakhir Brown gives back to community with camp

        Louisiana Gannett News • July 7, 2008




        There’s no sign of snow. Or Santa. Or a red-nosed reindeer.


        Yet as the temperature climbs toward triple digits and steam rises off the area’s brittle football fields, local NFL stars like Fakhir Brown, a Grambling product, see summer as the true season for giving.

        The cornerback turned pro more than a decade ago and now represents the St. Louis Rams. He admits he used to be a cocky young professional athlete who made bad decisions. Now, after a maturation process has opened his eyes, he feels the need to join the growing number of athletes who give back.

        That led to a successful offseason camp for kids in his Louisiana hometown recently.

        “There’s not much to do for the kids in Mansfield,” said Brown, who played with the New Orleans Saints before joining the Rams in 2006. “When I was growing up, the kids I went to school with, we wished some of the guys that made it to the NFL would come back and visit. So we said we’d make sure we’d come back.”

        It didn’t happen for Brown immediately, however.

        “When I (turned pro), I was just a young football player who was excited to play,” he said. “But it’s more than just playing football, because you’re a role model to kids. My career is something that can open a whole bunch of doors. I finally started seeing that once I got a little older.”

        Money raised by Brown’s camp and an accompanying celebrity basketball game will go towards a college scholarship.

        The activities aren’t just about Xs and Os, trophies and plaques and slam dunks from heroes, though: Brown and Mansfield coach Chris Thomas make a point to try and connect with the kids.

        “We sit them down and try to convince them to try to do the right thing,” said Brown, who played on the late Grambling coach legend Eddie Robinson’s final squad. “I’ll tell them the mistakes I made in my life and tell them not to go down that path or else. I could have messed up my whole career. They listen to us very well and respect us a lot.”
        -07-09-2008, 08:18 AM
      • lostsoul
        Good Article on Jason Brown
        by lostsoul
        NFL - Rams center Jason Brown grieves his brother's death in Iraq - ESPN The Magazine - ESPN


        Good Article on Jason Brown

        SOMETIMES JASON BROWN'S HANDSHAKES
        last a beat longer. It doesn't happen often. Brown, the Rams center, shakes a lot of hands -- those of fans, reporters, sponsors, marketers, anyone who wants a minute. Today, after an August practice, a group of soldiers dressed in fatigues and holding cameras and Sharpies waits to meet the team. Brown enters the line, filthy and wet, with dried blood on his knuckles and grass stuck to his limbs. Other Rams quickly cycle though the soldiers. After a decade of wars, most athletes have the routine down: grip, pump, pose, thank the "real heroes" for "keeping our country safe" and move on. That's not how Brown operates. He extends his right hand to the first soldier in line, an Air Force vet who's in his 20s. "It's an honor to meet you," the soldier says. Brown's left hand secures the troop's shoulder, and he smiles. "Thank you for your service," he says. Before Brown releases his grip, he spends a moment looking into the soldier's eyes, and his mind slips very far away.



        A FOOTBALL TEAM is not a haven of worldly perspective. Most of the guys in the locker room are perfectly aware that their work is insignificant compared with that of those who fight wars. But to do their jobs, to keep from losing focus, they have to bury this awareness, the same way New Yorkers learn to walk past the homeless on their way to work. Football, after all, is an instrument that helps both players and fans forget about the real world.

        Jason Brown's problem? Football only makes him remember.

        On the surface, Brown has much to celebrate. At 28, he's one of the NFL's best centers on a young, playoff-ready team. He's in the third season of a five-year, $37.5 million contract, which drew him away from the Ravens in 2009. At 6'3", 328 pounds, he is stout with a low center of gravity, but he's also lithe enough to pull on runs and smart enough to read fronts and coverages.

        Plus, Brown has great teeth. His wife, Tay, whom Jason married before his junior year at North Carolina, is a dentist. To his teammates, Brown is known as a good man, a man of God, a man whose deep voice and ruffled beard earned him the nickname Chef, after the character from South Park. But he's perhaps best known for flossing. Brown brings a bag of floss picks to meetings, and the linemen analyze video to the snap and pop of tartar-stained nylon. "They've got the best dental hygiene on the team," says running back Steven Jackson.

        All in all, as he prepares for his seventh season, Brown can't quibble with the life football has given to him. "You want your cup to overflow," he says as he sits on a bench near the Rams' practice fields. "My cup is causing a flood."

        Yet it's...
        -09-09-2011, 12:31 PM
      • r8rh8rmike
        Brown Embraces Role As Man In The Middle
        by r8rh8rmike
        Brown Embraces Role as Man in the Middle
        Wednesday, November 18, 2009


        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        Whether it’s a regular practice repetition during the week or an important play late in a crucial game, Jason Brown’s booming voice can often be heard barking at whoever it is that has the unfortunate job of spotting the football before a play.

        “I yell this out a lot and everybody looks at me like I am crazy but I do it to set the tempo,” Brown said. “We have to have an attitude in attacking every play with a passion. So one thing I do whenever we start a drill, one of our equipment guys, Matt, that lays the balls down for us, I yell at him ‘PUT THAT BALL DOWN’ and I repeat it and everybody is like ‘Yeah, where is the ball?’ Let’s get in the huddle and get fired up. Sometimes I do that in game situations as well and it’s funny because the ref is supposed to hurry up, spot the ball and get out of the way. I will yell at him too.”

        Don’t worry; Brown isn’t going to draw a flag for any of his pre snap antics. While he says it mostly in joking terms, Brown isn’t trying to make anyone laugh and he certainly isn’t trying to antagonize anyone.

        Instead, Brown is doing what he believes is an important part of one of the most responsibility-laden positions on the field. He’s setting the pace and the tone. He’s attacking the game with the verve and zest that comes with being with one of the league’s best centers and one of the Rams’ most respected leaders.

        Brown’s yelling about the ball is just one of many small things he can do to lead his teammates and establish a pace that he believes can translate into offensive success.

        “There are a lot of things I try to bring no matter how little they seem or how funny they seem,” Brown said.

        FINDING A CENTERPIECE

        Since the departure of fan favorite Andy McCollum a few years ago, the Rams have found themselves in search of a center capable of bringing stability to the position.

        In the past few years, the center position has become one of the most important on the field. Offensively, only a quarterback has more responsibilities and needs to know more than the center.

        Like the evolution of the left tackle back in the 1980s when Lawrence Taylor and a new breed of pass rushers were wreaking havoc on quarterbacks all over the league, the center has become the new vogue position on the offensive line.

        So when the Rams hit the free agent market back in March, they quickly identified Brown as target No. 1 for their rebuilding offensive line.

        “You really want to be strong up the middle and he has brought stability to our offensive line,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “He has done a nice job with the calls and the quarterback, the center, the tailback, those are important, key pieces to an offense...
        -11-19-2009, 12:11 PM
      • RamWraith
        2nd chances pay off for Brown
        by RamWraith
        By Bill Coats
        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
        09/17/2006

        Swerving to avoid another car, the Chevrolet skidded off the road, went airborne, vaulted a fence, caromed off a van, careened down a steep, tree-lined embankment, then slammed into several other vehicles at the bottom.

        Finally, it lurched to a stop.

        "I remember it all ... just like it was yesterday," Rams cornerback Fakhir Brown. "It could've been a whole lot worse. I could've killed myself."

        That was Brown's first second chance: He'd cheated death, suffering injuries to his right shoulder that required surgery but otherwise escaping unscathed. "I'm thankful," he said.
        On Sunday, Brown will start at right cornerback for the Rams in San Francisco. A free-agent pickup in the offseason, Brown had a sack and an interception vs. Denver last week in an 18-10 Week 1 victory. "It was a good way to open up the season with a new team," he said.

        The trek from wounded journeyman to valued starter was filled with obstacles for Brown, 28. It included some agonizing rehab, painful comeuppance, and, ultimately, impressive detective work by Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

        Brown and his eight brothers and sisters were raised by a single mother who budgeted her meager pay as a part-time accountant to the penny. When she wasn't filling out clients' tax forms, she was figuring ways to feed and clothe her children.

        College seemed out of the question. But Fakhir -- his name, pronounced fuh-KEER, means "superb" in Arabic -- was a football standout at Mansfield (La.) High and earned a scholarship to nearby Grambling State. But he saw little reason to stay when legendary coach Eddie Robinson retired after Brown's sophomore season.

        "Once he left, I really didn't want to be there," Brown said. "I had to go make some money for my family. My mom, she needed some help."

        Brown wound up in the Canadian Football League, where he played six games for the Toronto Argonauts in 1998. The next summer, Brown got his second second chance, when the San Diego Chargers invited him to camp.

        He made the practice squad, then was promoted to the active roster after the first three weeks of the season. He had six tackles in his first NFL start, then finished strong with 10 in the last game of the year.

        Brown's future in the league, plus his family's financial standing, appeared to be on an upswing. And then he lost control on a curvy section of a hilly San Diego road, and his hopes plunged downhill along with his car.

        Brown missed the first seven games of the 2000 season while his shoulder mended, and he was unable to convince the Chargers' brass that he wasn't damaged goods. They released him after the following preseason.

        "The coaches told me to stay...
        -09-16-2006, 08:01 AM
      Working...
      X