Would you say football is a raging passion for you?
“No, I wouldn’t say. I wouldn’t say that at all,” said Brown. “I love football, it’s a wonderful opportunity. I acknowledge that and know that. But I don’t think it’s my highlight. I don’t think it’s end-all for me. You know, it’s football.”
So this is not an all-consuming type of thing for you.
You look at it kind of like a business?
Taken at face value, these comments could set off an alarm or two. But a little more digging offers insight into what makes the enigmatic Brown tick.
The exchange began around the fact that Brown is sharing a backfield with LeSean McCoy. While Brown will get to be the feature guy for at least Monday’s game against the Panthers as McCoy recovers from a concussion, this is Shady’s show, and he is only 24. That could be an issue for someone who desires to achieve star status.
“That’s not a goal of mine so I don’t think there will be any conflict there,” said Brown. “I just want to be the best I can be, and if that’s me being a star then that’s me being a star. If not, to know that I gave it my all and I was the best that I could be, that’s enough for me.”
If being a star is not the goal, then what is?
“Honestly my goal is to be able to provide for my family for generations. However that is, I think this is a good step, a good opportunity to do that.”
The 21-year-old Kansas native went on to explain that he is a competitor and of course would want to be more prominently featured, but understands that he is on a pass-first team and the backup to one of the top backs in the league. As far as his perspective on the game he plays and not being totally consumed by it, Brown says that stems from his spirituality.
“I’m really big on my faith. That’s why my ears and my heart is open. I think He put me here for a reason,” said Brown. “I don’t think that’s it for me. I think there is more in life waiting for me. I don’t know what that is, it is just what I feel in my heart.”
While Brown says he has always been a spiritual person, he suggested he did not always approach things the right way in college.
He was the number one recruit in the country coming out of Wichita East High School in 2008, and yet only appeared in 13 games on the collegiate level, rushing for 476 total yards. He transferred from Tennessee to Kansas State after his freshman year (Brown said that decision was related to Lane Kiffin leaving for USC) but ended up appearing in just one game for the Wildcats.
Upon his departure from Tennessee, it was suggested that Brown was dealing with” internal and external pressures that resulted in a debilitating fog of depression.”
Brown had been a party to multiple NCAA inquiries in his college career, but was ultimately cleared.
In September of 2011, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder suggested that Brown was fighting through some personal matters.
“Bryce is going through some difficult times right now and we’ll try to help him all we can,” he said.
Brown didn’t play in another game for Kansas State.
“I’m not going to get into that as to what happened, that’s something I’m going to talk about,” Brown said.
Even though he left the Kansas State program, Snyder was true to his word and let Brown participate in the team’s Pro Day. He was eventually drafted by the Eagles in the seventh round, and now is poised to make his first start since high school.
“At first it was about what Bryce wanted. I realized soon that’s not the way I am going to be happy. That’s not how I am going to be successful,” said Brown. “I have to really open up my heart and allow Him to work through me, whatever that is. That’s what I did. He gave me the opportunity to play football so I know it’s His will to do so. That’s why I don’t have any goals of being a Pro Bowler because if it is God willing it will happen and if not, I’m not going to worry about it.”
Brown is dedicated to giving back to the youth in his community, as illustrated by his actions during draft weekend. He helped out with a fifth-and-sixth grade girls basketball team back in Wichita last year, and continued to attend team functions that weekend, even on the day he was drafted.
Given his outlook on life and football, that doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
“I feel like there is more for me than just football,” said Brown. “I think football is going to help me to get to that point, but there’s more.”
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