Signed by the Washington Redskins after roster space opened with the release of Brandon Jenkins, the six-year veteran was biding his time in Charlotte, N.C., eagerly awaiting the opportunity to rejoin an NFL team.
With the Redskins looking for competitive depth on both defense and special teams, Brown – who has seven career sacks and has spent significant time on special teams units – was a player head coach Jay Gruden and President and general manager Bruce Allen wanted in Richmond.
“He’s going to be another pass rusher on the edge and play outside linebacker,” Gruden said. “He’s played 4-3 defensive end and he’s played a little outside backer so we’re going to give him a look at outside backer and see how he does.”
Over the last few months, Brown had been spending four hours each day in the gym.
“That last two months I was in Charlotte training,” Brown said. “I was just putting in my work, about four hours first thing in the morning and after that I shut it off. I said ‘I controlled everything I can control football wise. I prepped my body, worked out, now I cut it off and I live my life.’
“But every day I prepared myself for the call so when the call did come, I would be ready.”
Without being on an NFL roster during offseason activities and not having access to strength and conditioning staff, the former second-round pick alternated his workouts between running drills that ensuring he could keep up with the speed of the game and keeping muscle mass on.
“Earlier in the year I was more speed training, that's what I like to do,” Brown explained after practice. “Speed training with high reps in the weight room and just lean out and make sure I keep my speed because it's an important part of my game.
“The last two months, I've been doing more of a combination of a workout where I would start out on a turf field and get my running for about 45 minutes and I would go directly into the weight room for about 45 minutes. So it consists of about an hour and a half of work and finish with a conditioning drill.”
From a football standpoint, the pass rusher has experience in both 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes.
“I had a couple of teams where I've been able to transition from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside Linebacker,” Brown said. “Last year, I was a 4-3 defensive end doing everything a defensive linemen would do, but coming into a 3-4, I think for my toolbox, I get to use all of my tools.
“I can move in space, I can cover, I can blitz from standing up, I can give different looks and come from different positions. I think it's going to utilize my toolbox all the way.”
Brown had the perfect first test to see where he stands after a few months away – a full pads practice.
“It was a little weird at first,” he admitted. “You go from training to not just helmet, but helmet and pads. So it was a little weird at first, you feel a little out of whack, but towards the end of practice you know all it is, is going out there and getting ready.
“So when I got to practice I was getting in to a rhythm. I felt my legs getting back under me, I felt my getoff with the pads back strong, I felt my hands timing with the offensive linemen, my attack and everything was getting better as practice went on.
“That's a good sign, muscle memory and that you've conditioned your muscles and your body to go out there and do it.”