Vikings WR, Freddie Brown Interview
Freddie Brown played wide receiver for the University of Utah. He was very productive during his senior season accumulating 77 receptions, 900 yards, and 7 touchdowns. He entered the 2009 NFL Draft, and was selected 224th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. He made the Bengals practice squad during his rookie season. This interview was conducted before the 2010 NFL season. [UPDATE: In 2010, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings 53-man roster.]
Strauss : So Freddie, why do you make it important to connect to the fans?
Brown : We all need support, and that includes the fans! If it weren’t for our fans, the NFL would not be what is today. Both on and off the field, I represent a multitude of entities including the National Football League, my team/organization, my college, high school, hometown, my family and my faith. People look up to professional athletes, and I’m doing what I can to be a good role model and a positive influence to society.
Strauss : Who was your childhood star? Why?
Brown : My dad. He played in the NBA and since I was a kid, I wanted to follow in his footsteps to one day make it in the world of professional sports.
Strauss : And, if you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Brown : Jesus Christ! He died for this world so that we could have life.
Strauss : What was your favorite NFL team growing up?
Brown : The San Francisco 49ers. My cousin, Ray Brown, played in the NFL for 20 seasons and was with the 49ers for 6 years. He gave me and my family tickets to their games. This is back when they had Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, JJ Stokes, Ken Norton Jr. and many more talented players, so we really enjoyed watching them play.
Strauss : When did you see your first live NFL game? Who played? Who won?
Brown : I was about 9 or 10. At the time my cousin was with the Washington Redskins and they played the Rams (back when they were the Los Angeles Rams). Unfortunately, the Rams won.
Strauss : If you weren’t playing in the NFL (or after retirement), what would you want to do?
Brown : My initial back up plan was to become a successful businessman, but I’ve always been interested in people with various needs. Someday, I’d like to help build schools, hospitals and churches around the world. I just want to help people in any way that I can.
Strauss : What is your favorite song to listen to before a game? What pumps you up?
Brown : Where Would I Be, by Smokie Norful. I love Gospel music!
Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?
Brown : It’s a two-way tie between Shawshank Redemption and Pursuit of Happiness.
Strauss : What is your favorite snack food?
Brown : Fruit smoothies! I’m not one to speak highly of myself, but some of my teammates call me the smoothie king. I disagree with them.
Strauss : What is your favorite kind of pie?
Brown : Apple pie! With vanilla ice cream, of course.
Strauss : What is your favorite Ice Cream flavor?
Brown : Three way tie: Cookies n’ Cream, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Strawberry.
Strauss : What is your favorite TV-Show?
Brown : I don’t watch much TV, but it’s another three-way tie: Scrubs, In the Heat of the Night and Matlock.
Strauss : What is your favorite meal?
Brown : Korean food! I love Korean BBQ Ribs (Galbi), BBQ Beef (Bulgogi), Rice Cake Soup (Ddeok-guk), Spicy Tofu Stew (Soon Tubu), Seasoned Cabbage (Kimchi), Sesame Leaves (Gen Neep) and Steamed White Rice. My grandparents make the best Korean food and it’d be nice to have it more often.
Strauss : What is your favorite video game?
Brown : I’d rather do something constructive like read a book, study my playbook or help someone.
Strauss : Who is your favorite superhero?
Brown : Jesus. No one has anything on Him!
Strauss : What is the one thing you can’t leave your house without?
Brown : I try not to leave without my keys!!! Two other very important things though, are my wallet and phone.
Strauss : So, how long have you played football?
Brown : I’ve been playing football for 13 years. I started playing flag football when I was eleven years old in 6th grade, and I started playing tackle football my freshman year in high school at age fourteen.
Strauss : Did you play any other sports in high school?
Brown : I played basketball for all four years and I played baseball and ran track my freshman year. I decided not to play baseball or run track after that so I could focus more on football and basketball.
Strauss : What is your favorite sport to play other than football?
Brown : Definitely basketball. During the offseason, some of our Bengals players get together and play at our gym in our facilities. It’s one of many ways we can bond as a team and it’s a great way to stay in shape!
Strauss : At what age, did you realize that you were going to play football in college and in the NFL?
Brown : As a kid, I would often talk about playing in the NBA (since my dad played for the Detroit Pistons) but I really became serious about wanting to play football in college and in the NFL when I was about fifteen.
Strauss : What impact did your high school coach have on your football career?
Brown : My college coach Scott Morrison had a great impact on my college and pro career. He taught our high school team philosophies that I still carry with me today. One of them being: Faith, Family and Football. More importantly, he and his family are extraordinary people.
Strauss : Describe the hardest change between the jump from high school to college.
Brown : It was a transition moving to another state and being away from my family most of the year for 4 years. Also, the demands in college are far greater than the demands in high school. I’m grateful to have learned a lot more about discipline and sacrifice.
Strauss : How did you choose a number at Utah?
Brown : 88 was my number in high school and I thought it’d be nice to have the same number in college.
Strauss : What can you expect from playing D-1 football?
Brown : It is the experience of a lifetime! Your college football teammates become your extended family. You go through a lot together and at the end of the day, good or bad, you’re still brothers.
Strauss : Who was the hardest player get by in college? why?
Brown : My former Utah Ute teammate and current Miami Dolphin Cornerback, Sean Smith. How many cornerbacks do you know are 6’3 and 215 pounds? Yeah, I had to try to get by him everyday in practice. Playing against the best only makes you better.
Strauss : What is your favorite memory from Utah?
Brown : Our entire 2008 season! Our team beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, we won every game we played with a record of 13-0, and we were the only undefeated team in the nation finishing #2 in the country behind Florida. About 90% of the U.S. thought we were going to lose, and it was great proving them wrong. Also, a couple games before the Sugar Bowl, I caught the game winning touchdown against TCU. I love my Utah teammates; we’re family.
Strauss : Could you have predicted how far football was going to carry you?
Brown : Absolutely not. It is by the grace of God that I am where I am today, and I thank Him everyday for blessing me with this incredible opportunity
Strauss : What impact did your college coach have on your pro career?
Brown : Both my college football head coach Kyle Whittingham and my receiver coach Aaron Roderick had some big impacts on my pro career. They’ve always believed in me, and I’m thankful that they gave me the opportunity to contribute and help our team win games. These two coaches are the main reason I decided to go to the University of Utah. The moment I signed, I knew that it was one of the best decisions I’d ever make in my life. To this day, I feel the same exact way.
Strauss : When were you expecting to get drafted? What was your draft day experience like?
Brown : Although I was told when to expect I’d be drafted, I wasn’t specifically expecting this or that because you really just never know. Receiving a phone call from our head coach Marvin Lewis the day of the draft, right before the Bengals drafted me was pretty neat. My family and I saw my name flash across the TV screen and we were very happy. It was a special moment.
Strauss : Why have you changed numbers in the NFL?
Brown : Being at this level, I just took the number I was given!
Strauss : What do you expect from playing in the NFL?
Brown : Everyday I can become a better football player than I was yesterday. We never know when it’ll be our last day or our last play, so I’m just trying to make the most out of everyday and every play I have at this level.
Strauss : What was it like to be on the Bengals’ practice squad? What is the practice squad really like?
Brown : It was a crucial stage in my own personal development. Everyday I went up against our starting defense and it was very challenging to say the least. Bottom line is, it’s the NFL: the highest level of football in the world, and the competition is fierce.
Strauss : How has your game improved from Utah now to the Bengals’ squad?
Brown : I received excellent coaching at Utah. The NFL however, has the absolute highest form football coaching. Literally everything we do is critiqued and evaluated, and it is essential in any players development. Again, everyday I have at this level is a day that I can become better than I was yesterday and I’m in the process of maximizing my potential.
Strauss : What is the hardest workout to do?
Brown : Everyday is a physical and mental grind, and we are pushed beyond our comfort zones and limits. My teammates go through the same thing with me and that inspires me to work even harder.
Strauss : What’s the hardest workout for you to complete?
Brown : Every workout is challenging in some way, but when we finish it, we gain a greater sense of accomplishment and desire to finish everything we start.
Strauss : How important has film been to your development? What do you look for when you watch film?
Brown : It has been critical! Most of my extra time is spent in the film room.As a receiver, I study myself, the defense, (usually defensive backs and their tendencies) and players who do things very well. I’m pretty tough on myself and there is almost always something to improve upon and correct. I know I’ll never be perfect, but I can strive for it. In doing so, I believe I get better.
Strauss : Who do you compare your game to? Why?
Brown : I don’t really compare myself to anybody because I’ve got my own unique style. I simply do what I can to be the best me I can be.
Strauss : What is your favorite charity? Why?
Brown : There are countless great charities. I give back because there are too many people out there in the world who are broken, hurting, lost, hungry, thirsty or in some other form of desperate and immediate need. We all need to know that we are loved, supported and cared for, and I believe that it is in giving that we truly receive.
Strauss : What is your nickname? Why?
Brown : When I was a kid, people called me Downtown. They still do. I guess Downtown Freddie Brown just has some kind of ring to it.
Strauss : What is something that you look back on that has developed who you are? Why?
Brown : My faith. Everyday it has molded and shaped me into being who I am today, and I’m in the process of becoming who I was created to become.
Strauss : What is an experience you have had that changed your life?
Brown : I’ve had the privilege of opening my eyes to wake up everyday of my life for 24 years. I’m alive and well with a great family, food on the table, a roof over my head and everything that I need. I’m so thankful for everyone and everything I have in my life.
Strauss : What is your favorite quote?
Brown : “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Strauss : For someone aspiring to play football in the NFL, do you have any advice for them?
Brown : Dream BIG! Work harder than you’ve ever worked, be more disciplined than you’ve ever been and make the necessary sacrifices that will help you get to where you aspire to go. Hang around good, positive people and be willing to do more than what those next to you do. Extra work will take you far. It’s easy to do what everyone is required to do, but very few are willing to do above and beyond what’s asked of them.
Strauss : Is there anything you want to tell your fans that I have not asked?
Brown : No matter how much we’ve experienced, learned, loved or lived, there is always more to be done!
Strauss : Thank you for your time.
Brown : Thank you! I appreciate the opportunity!