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The Long Awaited Call

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  • The Long Awaited Call

    Tuesday, December 28, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    It eventually got to the point of being ridiculous. Bob Brown, one of the most dominant offensive linemen ever to play the game had fallen into a routine.

    For five consecutive years, Brown was nominated for the Hall of Fame. That first year, he was hopeful, almost confident. It didn’t happen. The next year, he felt like it was simply an aberration the first time, this time he would almost certainly get the call. Again, no dice.

    So, it continued, each year coming and going and taking with it a little piece of confidence for the self-described egomaniac.

    “I know I had a big ego, but I honesty believed I could block anything that came from a woman and was able to stand up like a man,” Brown said. Finally, this year, Brown had all but given up on his dream of being immortalized in Canton.

    On the day he was supposed to find out if he made it or not, Brown did not sit by the telephone waiting for it to ring. He had been disappointed too many times. Then, as he walked down the hallway at his house, the phone rang. Surely, Brown thought, this isn’t the call I have waited for.

    “I went through every emotion a person can go through,” Brown said. “I just tried not to stand by the phone like a 16-year old waiting for a prom date.”

    Brown picked up the phone; it was the Hall of Fame finally calling after all those years. He was more than ready to be enshrined in football’s tribute to its greatest legends. He traveled to Canton, where he would be inducted alongside some of the game’s more recent superstars John Elway and Barry Sanders.

    Here Brown was, an offensive lineman, with his 37-year old soon introducing him. It was the best feeling of his life, alternately claiming he was speechless, but often going as far as creating new words.

    “Magnificent, fantastic, splendiferous,” Brown would call that day.

    It was a day that was about 40 years in the making. Brown started his career in 1964 with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he spent five “OK” seasons. Make no mistake, he played at a high level, but the situation wasn’t what he wanted. Then, he moved to the Los Angeles Rams.

    This was it, the chance he had eagerly anticipated. He would get to practice every day against one of the greatest players of all-time, Deacon Jones, and play for an organization he always respected. Brown went to the Pro Bowl three times with Philadelphia, but it wasn’t until he got to Los Angeles that he met his potential. A lot of that had to do with playing Jones.

    “With him it was either get better or get destroyed,” Brown said. “I chose get better.”

    He spent just two seasons with the Rams, but he established himself as one of the league’s most feared tackles in that time. He went to the Pro Bowl in 1969 and 1970 and retired after three more seasons in the league. In all, he made six Pro Bowl appearances.

    So, with that kind of domination, how was Brown not a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame? To this day, he doesn’t have an explanation for it. For years, he had well-wishers that would express their disbelief. Others would express shock when they found out he wasn’t enshrined already.

    “I didn’t understand it,” Brown said. “The village idiot could see that this guy (I) was supposed to be there.”

    Even the St. Louis Rams were well aware that Brown should be there and that is why he will be honored tonight for his contributions. After entering the Hall of Fame, Brown said there couldn’t be a better feeling, but the thought of being honored in a city where he didn’t even play, but for a franchise he fondly remembers, gives him a “warm, fuzzy feeling.”

    “It is such a class move,” Brown said. “To be honored by an organization like that…I never thought they would even know what a Bob Brown was.”

    For many years, it seemed nobody knew what a Bob Brown was. Now, the whole world can know him as it should, as a Hall of Famer.

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  • Nick
    Brown Hopes to be the Right Choice at Tackle
    by Nick
    Brown Hopes to be the Right Choice at Tackle
    Friday, April 15, 2005
    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Jammal Brown always knew that one day he would be lining up in the trenches in the NFL. According to Brown, it was predestined that one day he would be going head to head with someone about his size on Sundays.

    Of course, Brown always thought he would be doing his business on the defensive side of the ball. Coming out of McArthur High in Lawton, Okla., Brown was one of the top defensive tackles in the nation. After committing to the home-state Sooners, Brown arrived ready to put pressure on the quarterback.

    When Oklahoma asked him to protect the signal-caller instead, Brown thought about transferring. All he ever wanted was to play defense and nearly moved to Miami to become a Hurricane.

    Four years later, here Brown sits as one of the top offensive tackles awaiting his fate in the April 23 NFL Draft. Standing 6-feet-6 and 313 pounds, Brown possesses excellent quickness and burst off the ball. But it is his mean, nasty streak that sets him apart from other tackles.

    In his final two years at Oklahoma, Brown allowed just one sack, a testament to his spiteful disposition on the football field.

    “I just know that I was always taught to not let anybody get near your quarterback, so that’s what I did,” Brown said. “It’s a personal thing because you don’t want those guys just to beat you and all of the fingers will be pointing at you. So, I just make sure that no one comes close to him.”

    Brown’s quarterback, Jason White, was so well protected that he won the Heisman Trophy two seasons ago and finished in the top five last year. In fact, Brown and the rest of the offensive line were so dominant this past season that running back Adrian Peterson was also a Heisman finalist. Brown earned the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman for his efforts in 2004.

    Things haven’t been easy for Brown throughout his college career, though. He suffered a serious knee sprain in fall camp before the 2000 season. He missed the entire year. Then, in his final college game, against USC in the Orange Bowl, Brown suffered a left shoulder strain. The injury wasn’t serious, but also came in the middle of a shellacking by the Trojans adding insult to injury.

    Since that final game, Brown has done nothing to hurt his draft stock. He is clearly one of the three best tackles in the draft after having an impressive pro day at Oklahoma and running a solid 5.01 in the 40-yard dash at the combine.

    One thing Brown has going for him is the fact that he is pretty much built to play right tackle because of his run blocking ability. He will probably be the second offensive tackle off the board after Florida State’s Alex Barron. One team that could have its eyes on Brown is St. Louis.

    In need of a right...
    -04-18-2005, 03:41 AM
  • Guest's Avatar
    Big Brown
    by Guest
    Looks like Big Brown dumped a big brown "road apple" at the Belmont. From Triple Crown threat to "also ran" in a matter of minutes. Should of been the easiest run of the Big Three. Casino Drive, the biggest threat, from Japan was a scratch. It was a mental decision, not by the jockey, but by the horse to quit.
    Let that be a lesson to those who think that animals are nothing but "tools" that are "mastered" and "controlled" by humans. Kudos to Big Brown for showing that animals have a thought process, no matter the stakes.

    RAM ON!
    -06-10-2008, 10:36 PM
  • 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

    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
  • RamWraith
    Fakhir Brown Happy To Be Back
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas

    In a telling example of just how disjointed things were in the final days of the Scott Linehan tenure, cornerback Fakhir Brown said no one from the organization informed him that he had been released.

    So in his third year as a starter with the Rams, Brown learned he had been released through his agent, Ted Marchibroda, son of the former NFL head coach.

    After missing all of the preseason because of a shoulder injury, Brown was just working himself back into form when he learned he had been cut.

    "I was very shocked and surprised," Brown said. "I played two or three games, so I was just feeling comfortable. And all of a sudden, they told (Marchibroda) they were about to release me. I was like, 'For real?' "

    Yes, for real.

    Brown was released Sept. 24, capping a tumultuous 24-hour period at Rams Park that also included the benching of quarterback Marc Bulger by Linehan.

    But after spending the last 2½ weeks in career limbo, Brown re-signed Monday with the Rams. He was back on the practice field Wednesday, and will start Sunday against Dallas.

    Brown did get a phone call from Jim Haslett after he was released.

    "Just to let him know that I wasn't in agreement with it," Haslett said. "I wished him luck. I told him if he needed help getting another job, I would help him. And if things worked out and we could get you back, we'd love to have you back."

    Turns out, Haslett was named head coach less than a week removed from that conversation, replacing the fired Linehan on Sept. 29. He immediately began working on re-signing Brown, but accomplishing that took longer than expected.

    So what took so long? For one, there were family issues. Brown's three children and his girlfriend moved away to San Diego. For another, there were several teams expressing at least some interest in signing him.

    "Baltimore was probably the one closest to coming to a deal," Brown said. "It was so crazy. There was so much going on. I was thinking about so many different things."

    Even when Haslett called about re-signing with St. Louis, Brown had to think it over.

    "It wasn't Haslett's fault that I was gone," Brown said. "I didn't know who was in charge of the personnel. I could come back here and get released again, I didn't know. So I just wanted to find out what was really going on."

    Asked if his release was simply a case of Linehan not liking him, Brown said, "You never know. I hope that he did like me, because I liked him. I'm hoping that it was just a move that he made, a business move by him, trying to win."

    Of course, it's usually not a good business move to release perhaps your best cornerback,...
    -10-16-2008, 05:20 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Rookie Hopes To Change His Image
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams rookie hopes to change his image

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    Linebacker Sammy Brown didn't have unrealistic expectations entering the draft. His agent told him he was projected to go somewhere in rounds 5 to 7. So Brown didn't even watch day 1 of the draft when the first-rounders were selected. On day 2, when the second and third rounds were picked, he took his girlfriend out to dinner.

    He started day 3 in front of the television, waiting for his name to be called. But as the fourth and fifth rounds went by, and the picks dwindled in the sixth round, Brown's frustration mounted.

    "When it got to the sixth and seventh round, I just said, 'Man, I don't even want to watch it no more,' " Brown said. "I was mad. I see other people going. I see them picking punters, kickers. Am I that sorry? What have I got to do?"

    As he told the story at Rams rookie minicamp, just two weeks after the draft, you could hear Brown's voice rising and feel the emotion in his voice.

    "Man, I just want to come out here and give my best — the best I can," Brown said.

    Apparently, "giving his best" didn't always happen at the University of Houston. Scouts knew about it, coaches knew about it, and that might explain why Brown went undrafted — signing with St. Louis as a rookie free agent.

    Brown is aware of the criticism.

    "They say I didn't have enough effort," Brown said. "I agree with it. I didn't go hard every play. But that's over with. I'm just trying to learn this system and do the best I can."

    In two seasons with Houston after transferring from the junior-college ranks, Brown's numbers were eye-opening. In 2010, he registered 76 tackles and 7½ sacks and led Conference USA in tackles for loss (20). As a senior in 2011, he had 93 tackles and a league-leading 13½ sacks, and led the nation with 30 tackles for loss.

    Who knows what his numbers would've been had he shown effort on every play?

    "I might have 50 tackles for loss, and 20 sacks," Brown said, laughing at himself. "You never know, I might have a record."

    At Houston, the Cougars played a 3-4 front with Brown playing as a rush linebacker on the outside. The Rams play a 4-3, so there may not be as many pass-rushing opportunities for Brown, who lined up at strongside linebacker at the Rams' rookie minicamp over the weekend.

    When asked about Brown, coach Jeff Fisher made it clear there is one — and only one — acceptable playing speed with the Rams.

    "There's only one way we play on defense," Fisher said. "And if you're not going to the football full speed, you don't take plays in the defense or you don't step on the field. So I would like to think those days are behind him. He's very...
    -05-14-2012, 01:47 PM