Redskins.com's Nicholas Tolisano provides five things to know about new Washington Redskins linebacker Zach Brown, signed April 3 after a Pro Bowl season.
1. Not to be confused with the country band, Brown is an NFL player coming off a great Pro Bowl season.The Redskins this week signed Brown (not Zac Brown of the Zac Brown Band) to a one-year deal. The Columbia, Md., native is the newest addition to a defensive unit that brings youth and experience to the team.
The Redskins linebacker core could become known as the Redskins “Zach Brown Band” if he repeats his stellar play from 2016 and boosts the defense's production. Last year, he recorded 149 tackles -- second most in the NFL behind only Seattle's Bobby Wagner.
“There were a lot of pieces to the puzzle on defense that can help us win," Brown said this week on his decision to sign in Washington. "At the end of the day, we are just trying to win and trying to bring the city a championship and I wanted to be a part of that. I knew some of the guys on the team already and I know how they play. This is what I want to be a part of.”
Brown is also another player born in South Carolina on the active roster, joining cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, safety D.J. Swearinger and wide receiver Brian Quick.
2. This is Brown's third NFL team to date since entering the NFL in 2012.The Tennessee Titans drafted Brown out of North Carolina with the 52nd overall-pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
As a Titan for four seasons, Brown appeared in 49 games, recording 261 tackles, 13 passes defensed, 10 sacks, six interceptions and two fumbles forced.
Brown signed a one-year deal with the Bills in 2016. The University of North Carolina product was named to his first Pro Bowl after gathering 149 tackles, two forced fumbles and four sacks.
Brown was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after a dominating Week 4 performance against the New England Patriots where he registered 17 tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack in a 16-0 shutout victory.
3. He was a multi-sport athlete as well as a dual-threat football star.
While at Wilde Lake (Md.) High School in Columbia, Brown won the state title in the 100- and 200-meter dash. The linebacker also competed for the Tar Heels, where he ran the 60- and 200-meter events. Brown is also an accomplished wrestler that went undefeated his senior year of high school and took away the state championship.
His track background was very noticeable when he ran a blazing 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the 2012 NFL Combine, which was the best time among linebackers.
In terms of football in high school, Brown played both linebacker and running back, rushed for 1,537 yards and 20 touchdowns while also registering 90 tackles his senior year.
4. He had quite the end to his rookie season.During the final game of his rookie season in 2012, Brown returned two interceptions for touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars, tying an NFL record for most interception returns for a touchdown in a single game.
On his first interception, Brown read quarterback Chad Henne’s eyes and jumped the receiver’s route to intercept the ball before outracing everyone on his 79-yard trip to the endzone. Later in the game, Brown would do it after a tipped pass found its way into the linebacker’s arms, he would return it for a 30-yard score.
The record is held by 30 other players along with Brown.
5. Brown attended a military academy known for producing top NFL talent.As a post-graduate student-athlete, Brown attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. and was teammates with current New York Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson.
Hargrave Academy has produced more than 40 NFL players including the Wilkerson but along with Carlos Rogers, Brandon Flowers and Torry Holt.