Report says Patriots are not going to re-sign Brown
HUNTINGTON -- The symmetry couldn't have been scripted in a more appropriate tone.
Inside the packed convention room, friends and former teammates and coaches raved about Troy Brown during his alleged "roast." To a person, they spoke much more of Brown the family man than the celebrated National Football League veteran and owner of three Super Bowl rings.
"If you didn't know him, you wouldn't know he was a professional football player," said William King, who teamed with Brown on Marshall University's 1992 Division I-AA national championship squad.
New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, former and current Patriots coaches Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, former Marshall coach Jim Donnan and so many others followed in step, offering verbal portraits of the career-long overachiever.
Oblivious to the star power and formal air of the evening, Sir'mon and SaanJay Brown, the young sons of Troy and Kim Brown, played non-stop with friends in an outside hallway.
The entire evening served as a celebration instead of roast, perhaps providing a precursor to Thursday's news. According to a published report, the Patriots will not re-sign Brown, drafted by New England in 1993. If this leads to Brown's retirement, last week's entertaining evening produced an ideal sendoff.
Brown and Thundering Herd teammates such as Mike Bartrum, King, Phil Ratliff and Will Brown joked and shared stories prior to the main event. "We were a bunch of wild guys," Will Brown admitted during his time at the roast podium, but on this Thursday night they were 30-something grownups, talking family more than football.
"He evolved from a small-town guy to what he is and what you see today," King said of Brown's South Carolina upbringing. "He had an impact on teammates, coaches and even current players today. They all look to him and he set the standard really high.
"He's the guy you want to emulate and you want your kids to emulate."
Will Brown offered much of the same, saying Troy Brown epitomized the special group that was the 1992 Marshall football team. Instead of recounting key plays from the title game victory over Youngstown State, Will Brown talked of how Troy was helpful post-graduation and of a friendship that continues with weekly phone conversations.
"We grew up to be fathers and men who gave back to the community," Will said.
Troy Brown's Little League football coach recounted the unrelenting energy of his undersized former player. Troy would sprint back and forth to each end of the spacious playground for what it was.
Not quite three decades later, there were Sir'mon and SaanJay, still chasing and running away from buddies more than three hours after the roast's start.
It's uncertain if Troy Brown's football career will conclude during this offseason. His continued future as family man, however, couldn't be clearer.
Anthony Hanshew covers Marshall football for The Herald-Dispatch. He can be reached at 526-2766. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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