Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Time to Make a Push Brown Expected to Produce

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Time to Make a Push Brown Expected to Produce

Article excerpt

Here's a reality check.

Derek Brown is 27.

"That's weird," he said, laughing.

Twenty-seven -- five years older than 22, his rookie age.

Twenty-seven -- five years from 32, when most NFL players aren't

in the league anymore.

Twenty-seven. Halfway there.

"It's pretty wild," he said.

Making it most wild, he said, is that at 27, he is in his

prime. Experience should be his ally, and age not yet his enemy.

Which makes this season important.

"You do feel pressure," Brown, a tight end whom the Jaguars

acquired in the 1995 expansion draft, said as training camp

continued at Ferrell Fields outside Alltel Stadium. "You're a

competitor. You want to compete. You want to get better."

Brown has wanted that his entire career. It has taken longer

than he expected, but he said this week he believes he finally

may be at a point where things come naturally, where the

potential he has had since the Giants drafted him in the first

round from Notre Dame becomes production.

"Derek's working hard," Jaguars offensive coordinator Chris

Palmer said.

Palmer and Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin each said the same thing

when asked about Brown this week: He's working hard, he has

potential, there's a long way to go.

Brown has heard this before -- yearly, almost. Since his NFL

career began, his story line has been unfulfilled potential.

Critics say Brown doesn't catch enough passes for a 6-foot-6,

264-pounder who is a prototypical NFL tight end -- big, strong,

fast. His five-year statistics: 28 receptions for 228 yards with

no touchdowns.

Brown's answer?

Yes, he developed slowly in New York, but he played better than

he ever had in the 1995 preseason with Jacksonville before

sustaining a broken rib and severe spleen and kidney injuries in

the final preseason game. …

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