Published August 06, 2011
RENTON, Wash. – Brandon Browner is not a typical NFL cornerback.
The 6-foot-4, 221-pound Browner towers over the Seattle Seahawks' secondary. He looks out of place, like a wiry linebacker.
But the Seahawks are hoping he can bring a physical presence to the edge of their defense.
"The only guy I can ever think of that was this big was Mel Blount a million years ago," coach Pete Carroll said Friday. "He just is so tall. Most people would say he can't play being that tall, but he's doing it."
Carroll had the chance to recruit Browner when he was the head coach at Southern California. Browner was a standout player at Sylmar High School, just north of Los Angeles.
But Carroll decided to pass.
Browner went on to star for Oregon State and was an undrafted free agent when he signed with Denver in 2005. The Broncos decided to move him to safety.
The transition was a difficult one for Browner, who broke his arm in a preseason game against San Francisco and was placed on injured reserve. He eventually was released and signed with the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders.
Browner made the CFL All-Star team each of the past three seasons.
"I've matured," Browner said. "When I came out I was an underclassman. I was only 20 years old. I'm 27 now, so a lot of things have changed over the years."
"I did well up there in the CFL and it all worked out the way it was supposed to. I'm back where I want to be."
Carroll didn't pass up another opportunity to chase Browner.
I had lost track of him — that he was playing in Canada for a few years and he was all-Canada or whatever and made the All-Star team (three) years in a row, I said let's bring him in," Carroll said. "Let's see what we've got. I always knew that he was very effective at the line of scrimmage."
With second-year cornerback Walter Thurmond missing time with an ankle sprain, Browner has been thrown in with the first-team defense opposite cornerback Marcus Trufant. He's been matched up against the Seahawks' larger wide receivers, Mike Williams and Sidney Rice, during workouts.
"He kind of has the physical attributes we're looking for, good speed, good size, good strength," defensive backs coach Kris Richard said. "Put it all together with a little bit of technique and a lot of wins should come out of that, so he's doing a fantastic job thus far."
Seattle ranked 27th against the pass last season. Larger receivers proved to be a really difficult matchup.
With Thurmond's injury, the coaching staff is getting an extended chance to evaluate Browner with the hope he could be the piece to help keep opposing receivers in check.
"He's come out here and he's competed like crazy," Carroll said. "He's had some very good days, one after another. He's a four-year professional veteran if you look at it. He's played a ton of football games and he just keeps growing and he fits in. I'm looking for him to challenge for some play time. He looks like he can do that. We're so fortunate that we hit that so we'll see how it goes."
NOTES: The Seahawks have signed RB Thomas Clayton, who was released by the New England Patriots on Wednesday. ... Carroll said DT Colin Cole (ankle) and CB Roy Lewis (knee) are still at least a couple weeks away from being able to get on the field. ... WR Ben Obomanu is away from the team after a death in the family. ... WR Deon Butler, TE Cameron Morrah, DT Red Bryant, DE Dexter Davis, CB Walter Thurmond, OL Caz Piurowski and WR Dominique Edison also did not practice on Friday.