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With another National Football League season just around the corner, alumnus Mike Brown (’11), a wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is hard at work. The Central Virginia native and former Liberty Flames star is hoping to build off his success from last season.
Before his pro career, Brown was one of the most productive offensive players in Flames Football history. The team won four straight Big South Conference championships between 2007 (when Brown redshirted as a freshman) and 2010. As Liberty’s starting quarterback beginning in 2009, Brown was a two-time Big South Offensive Player of the Year honoree and Walter Payton Award candidate. During his senior season, Brown was the Big South leader and ranked No. 9 in the country in total offense (310.10 yards per game), No. 7 in points responsible for (16.60 per game), and No. 17 in passing yards per game (266.40).
Brown, who majored in business with a concentration in finance, said he initially visited Liberty because it was near where he lived, but was immediately drawn to the vision of the university and its Athletics Department.
“I left campus that day feeling like it was home,” Brown said of his first visit to Liberty. “It (still) is home.”
Brown recognizes that his position makes him a role model to many, a platform he does not take lightly. He regularly gives back to his home communities in Florida and Virginia. In February, he and fellow NFL player and Liberty alumnus Rashad Jennings (’09) returned to campus to hold a fundraiser for local charities.
Brown’s journey to Jacksonville’s locker room was not an easy one. After being overlooked in the 2012 NFL draft, he had a successful tryout with the Jaguars. He was cut from training camp, but spent several weeks on the team’s practice squad. Brown made his NFL debut on Dec. 23, 2012, and was promoted to the starting lineup a week later for the season finale.
The 2013 season was filled with career highlights. Brown made his first NFL catch on opening day. He rebounded from a back injury in that game and returned to the field a few weeks later. Since then, he has been a regular contributor to the Jaguars’ offense.
Brown caught his first NFL touchdown on Oct. 27, 2013, when the Jaguars played the San Francisco 49ers in London, and had his longest NFL catch (43 yards) and most yards in one game (120) when Jacksonville hosted the San Diego Chargers. He finished the season with 32 receptions for 446 yards and two touchdowns, averaging more than 13 yards per catch.
Through the highs and lows of his career, Brown has been committed to his faith, which he said has given him peace in times of uncertainty.
“I have no idea how people deal with (the pressures of this job) without a relationship with God,” Brown said. “I can sit back, and I can trust in Him and know that no matter what, He has my back. At the end of the day … whatever He has planned for me is going to happen.”
Be sure to follow Brown this season as he returns as a starting receiver for the Jaguars.
Read more about Brown in a Q-and-A with the Liberty Journal.