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Troy Brown's Family Still Enjoys 'Surreal' Time
Troy Brown, winner of a I-AA championship with Marshall, reflects on a “charmed life” in football in the NFL.
BARNWELL – After all this time, Super Bowl Week is still a surreal, special time for Richardean Brown.
For the fifth time in 10 years, she and family members are making the trek from Barnwell to proudly cheer on the New England Patriots, specifically her son and longtime wide receiver Troy Brown.
The impromptu “family reunion” destination this time is cross-country to Glendale, Ariz., for Super Bowl XLII where the Patriots are facing the New York Giants.
“I’m excited for him,” she said Wednesday prior to her departure. “This is a dream – something that most people dream of.”
Yet while Troy Brown, 36, is not expected to see significant action tonight compared to his previous four trips with New England, there’s something “unbelievable” in Richardean’s mind about this Super Bowl. For most of the country, it’s the possibility of witnessing history as the Patriots look to become the first-ever 19-0 team in NFL history against the New York Giants.
For Richardean, it’s about witnessing her son complete his 15th season with the team which initially cut him twice after drafting him in the eight round.
“It would be awesome,” she said. “Undefeated, 15th year (in the NFL), same team and four Super Bowl rings. That is just the ultimate dream.”
Although Brown has seen action in just one game this season as a punt returner after being activated from the physically unable to perform list following off-season knee surgery, he remains one of the team’s most respected and admired players. This was evident when he received a standing ovation at Gillette Stadium during his lone appearance Dec. 23 against the Miami Dolphins. It was a moment which brought tears of pride from his mother.
“This being his 15th year and being with the team for so long,” Richardean said. “That’s one of the things that’s making it extra special. He’s not really hands on that much this season, but he’s still a very important part of the team and contributes in his own way. He’s always been such a humble person and he just does everything and everything well.”
Look up “Charmed Career” in a book of phrases, Brown’s picture would be placed alongside the definition. Going back to his days at Blackville-Hilda High School, where his jersey is retired and a sign in his honor is posted at the town entrance, Brown has found championship success at every level.
A letterman in track and football, he was utilized by then-head coach Mike Pope as a wide receiver, defensive back, running back and kick returner for the Hawks. In 1988, he led Blackville-Hilda to a 14-1 record and the state Class A championship as he collected 44 receptions for 706 yards and 11 touchdowns on offense, 55 total tackles and four interceptions on defense and returned four punts four touchdowns to earn All-State honors.
“Discovered” by a Marshall University scout while enrolled at Lees-McRae College, Brown excelled in two seasons with the Thundering Herd. Brown tied the NCAA record for most touchdowns on kick returns in a single season (four) and became the NCAA’s all-time leader in kickoff return average with a regular-season average of 29.69 yards per return.
As a senior, Brown caught 101 passes for 1,654 yards and 16 touchdowns and led Marshall to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) championship. He also earned All-American and National Player of the Year honors and also had his jersey number retired at Marshall.
Ironically, future New England teammate Randy Moss followed in Brown’s foots.jpg at Marshall and helped the school win another FCS title in 1996.
Only former quarterback Steve Grogan has played as many games as a Patriot than Brown. He’s the team’s all-time leading punt returner with 346 returns for 4,140 yards and eight touchdowns, hold the record for receptions (557) and is second in receiving yards.
For all his success, Brown remains humble and still k.jpg his pre-game ritual of praying on the telephone with his mother. Despite a hectic schedule, the Browns still got an opportunity to have “good family time” together.
“They always make sure that the players have ample time to spend with the families and all those things,” Richardean said. “It’s really a nice time.”
In many ways, Brown’s low-key, selfless approach epitomizes the team-first mentality exuded by everyone from quarterback Tom Brady all the way to the final active player on the roster. If tonight is Brown’s swan song as a football players, Richardean hopes fans will recognize her son as the “wonderful person” that he is both on and off the field.
“A kind, good young man,” she said. “Just humble. He went out and did his job and he did it well. He never complained, never mumbled, grumbled about anything. He just went out and did his job. Just remember him as the kind young man that he was and the wonderful job that he did.”
Troy Brown’s family still enjoys ’surreal’ time
By THOMAS GRANT JR., T& Senior Sports Writer