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6'-4" 221 pounds ... not your typical size for NFL corner backs. Then again, Brandon Browner is anything but typical.

Browner plays the game with a physical presence, with an edge, with a chip on his shoulder. Is it because he went undrafted out of Oregon State and spent three seasons playing in the Canadian Football League? Is it because of, what he views as, unfair treatment by the NFL regarding his substance abuse suspensions over the previous two seasons?

Either way, Browner plays football like a pissed off hornet. Swat at him and he becomes more persistent.

Given his size and skill set, it's easy to see why Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick targeted Browner this past off-season, looking to revamp a defense that was several pieces short of making the Super Bowl in 2013.

His play is reminiscent of a combination of Ty Law, jamming receivers at the line and getting in their personal space down field and Ronnie Lott, distributing hits that make receivers second guess going across the middle.

His sheer size and ability make him the perfect answer for the leagues new breed of super tight ends that have the speed of wide receivers and size of offensive linemen.

The hard nosed, physical style that fans love and opponents fear has given the cornerback a bad reputation amongst NFL officials.

The normally quiet Browner held court in the Patriots locker room last Tuesday prior to squaring off against the Ravens in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

Browner was asked directly about the fact that Ravens receiver Torrey Smith was the leagues leading receiver at drawing defensive pass interference calls and quarterback Joe Flacco led the league drawing defensive pass interference and if he was at all worried because of his reputation amongst officials. "Is that (Flacco) or the receiver drawing the penalty," Browner poignantly asked the surrounding media, adding, "I think it's more so the receiver slowing down and coming back to the ball, does that make sense?"

It made sense all right, and it proved itself true. In the third quarter of Saturday's game, Joe Flacco lofted a ball toward  the endzone on a 4th-and-6. Clearly under thrown, Torrey Smith slowed up to make the catch. Browner had no where to go and drew the unfortunate defensive pass interference after running into the back of Smith.

Browner knows that teams and officials alike are going to target him because of his physical nature. Rather than shying away from it, he seems to invite the challenge, thriving on it and refusing to let the penalties define him.


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Andrew Sheehan 1/16/2015 12:52:00 PM Edit
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