Courtney Brown Doesn't Plan on Retiring
22 minutes ago
By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
BEREA, Ohio - Earlier this week, Browns defensive
end Courtney Brown returned to his old position -
Misfortune, bad breaks and freak injuries have
kept Brown, the former No. 1 overall draft pick,
off the field for 20 games in his four-year NFL
career with Cleveland.
Yet despite setbacks and surgery, Brown said he
has never once considered retiring.
"That time hasn't come yet," he said. "I've got a
lot of football left in me."
The Browns would love to have the 6-foot-4,
290-pound physical specimen for a full season. He
hasn't played in all 16 games since he was a
rookie in 2000, when he emerged as one of the
league's rising stars.
Since then, Brown's growth has been slowed by an
assortment of ailments.
He missed the first six games in 2001 with a knee
injury and the last five with a badly sprained
ankle. In 2002, Brown missed one game with a neck
injury and the final four, including a playoff
matchup with Pittsburgh, with cartilage damage in
his knee which required microfracture surgery.
He bounced back from that a year ago, recording a
career-high six sacks before rupturing his biceps
tendon and missing the final three games.
Brown, though, isn't dwelling on his cursed past.
"It's been tough," said Brown, who missed two
days of practice this week to rest his knees.
"The injuries are something that I've had to
overcome. I can't change that and I can't focus
on those things anymore. Nobody wants to be
injured. I just want to go out there and play."
When he does, Brown is something to behold.
Blessed with amazing quickness for his size,
Brown is too fast for most offensive linemen to
handle. His long arms also allow him to tie up
tackles before they can get their hands on him.
"He's a freak of nature," said end Kenard Lang,
who has served as Brown's unofficial spokesman
the past two years. "I've played with some great
defensive ends, like Bruce Smith. Courtney can do
a lot of stuff Bruce Smith could not do."
"He's got a stiff arm that can drive (Ryan)
Tucker back," Lang said. "He does it so easy."
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Tucker faces Brown
everyday in practice, and says when healthy, the
former Penn State All-American is as good as any
lineman in the league.
"He's a beast," Tucker said. "I know that I'm
getting a lot better playing against that guy."
Brown's injury problems have led many to wonder
if his chiseled body may also be uncommonly
brittle. The Browns, too, were concerned enough
about his apparent fragility that they signed
free agent Ebenezer Ekuban this offseason as
insurance in case Brown gets hurt again.
A rash of injuries like Brown has sustained would
be enough to make any player ponder his future.
But in Lang's mind, that's what makes Brown so
"He's a strong man, physically and spiritually,"
Lang said. "I've never heard Courtney complain,
cry or whine. You respect a man like that. He
works hard and does what it takes."
To his credit, Brown is determined to overcome
all the adversity. He refuses to give up on his
goals and wants to be known for his performance
and not his promise.
"I have to put everything behind me," he said.
"This time I think I can do it."
It's that drive that has Brown's teammates
rooting for him.
"I'd rather see him do well than myself," Lang
said. "I'd rather see him taste success than salt