Cam Cole: Former Seahawk Brandon Browner sees no reason to hold back


Cam Cole at Super Bowl
Brandon Browner

Cam Cole at Super Bowl Brandon Browner

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun, Files

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PHOENIX — Brandon Browner never disguised the fact that he was playing for the Calgary Stampeders with one foot out the door, one eye on the southern horizon, one ear listening for the phone to ring.

So any idea that the New England Patriots’ 30-year-old cornerback was going to go all warm and fuzzy when asked Tuesday to reflect on his four seasons in the Canadian Football League was probably based in fantasy.

Still, someone had to ask. It was Media Day at the Super Bowl. All questions are in bounds.

“I had a really good time up there in Canada,” he said. “Chance to get out of the States, live a different life, different culture. Practice was pretty easy. Our day started at 8 in the morning, we were done at 12. Four-hour days. You can’t beat that.”

There wasn’t much else. He thought John Hufnagel and his Stamps defensive coordinator of the day, Chris Jones, with whom he won the 2008 Grey Cup, were both great coaches. He was less sure that playing on the wider CFL field made him a better defender.

Fonder memories by far, it appears, were of his three seasons in Seattle as a member of the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom secondary.

But now that Hawks’ corner Richard Sherman (elbow) and safety Earl Thomas (shoulder) are nursing injuries, he wouldn’t mind if his teammates on the New England offence finish the job on them in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

His comments on the topic Monday, to ESPN — “At the end of the day, this is about the Super Bowl. I’m going to tell my teammates: ‘Go hit that elbow, go hit that shoulder. Hit it, try to break it if you can’ ” — raised enough attention to make them a prime source of questions Tuesday.

Browner wasn’t backing down.

“Sherm’s one of my best friends in life. Those are my brothers. At the end of the day there’s no hard feelings. I’m trying to win, and they understand that. (Sherman) knows what it is. He sent me a text: ‘LOL.’

“That’s like in any game, you have a guy that messes his ankle up and you’re going to tackle and make sure you land on his ankle. If a guy messes his shoulder up, then you tackle him and land on his shoulder — that’s just a part of the game. You guys know how close I am to those boys,” Browner said.

He’s got an “LOB” tattoo on his arm to prove it.

“That’s what they mean to me. What I said, that wasn’t coming from a bad place. I love those guys, I wish those guys the best, but ultimately I want to win this game.”

The Seahawks return his love, sort of. Receiver Doug Baldwin saw nothing wrong with the comments.

“I’d expect that,” Baldwin said. “Everybody wants us to be politically correct, but that’s the truth. Whether you say it out loud or not, that’s legitimately what it is.”

Still, admissions of such brutal intent are rare. But compared to some of the issues Browner has had in pro football, they amount to sticks and stones.

In 2012, while with the Seahawks, he was suspended for four games for failing a drug test. In December of 2013 he was suspended indefinitely for another violation of the NFL’s drug policy — marijuana in both cases — and was unable to play in Seattle’s Super Bowl win over Denver.

The latter suspension was appealed and eventually reduced to the first four games of this season (and an additional four game cheques) when the NFL agreed that he had been unfairly moved to Stage 3 of the NFL drug program for missing tests while out of the league, with Calgary.

So for the Patriots, who signed him to a three-year, $17-million free agent contract prior to the season, it was a heck of a deal: they got the 6-foot-4, 220-pound predator for nearly half this season, gratis.

“I’m trying to clean up my image a little bit,” Browner said Tuesday, “but I truly believe everybody makes mistakes. Just on this level my mistakes are magnified and blown up a little bit. The reason I say I want to clean it up a little bit, not more so for the media, but for the kids and elderly fans that watch the game. Just change up some of what they think of me.”

What his coaches and teammates think of him is pretty clear. In Seattle, on a defence loaded with great backs, he played opposite Sherman, who is at least in the conversation as the best corner in football. In New England, he’s on the other side from Darrelle Revis, who’s in that conversation, too.

“I wouldn’t say that I miss (Seattle), but those guys mean something to me. I’m happy to be playing with the likes of Darrelle Revis and (safety) Devin McCourty — it’s like I didn’t miss a step. It’s not like I went and played for a team that didn’t have solid DBs. It is fun.”

Browner must be doing something right, though he admits the Seahawks “know my weaknesses. And vice versa.”

Missing out on last year’s championship game — he watched it on TV from his home in California — was hard, and getting this chance the very next year makes him one lucky dude.

“My season was short. I missed the first six games,” he said. “It came fast. I’m very fortunate, blessed, been given multiple second chances. Hopefully we make the best of it.”

Just one word of warning on that.

“We’re going to go after him, too,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said, in the ESPN report. “It’s going to be a fun game. Tell him Bobby said he’s coming after him.”

Cam Cole at Super Bowl
Brandon Browner

Cam Cole at Super Bowl Brandon Browner

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun, Files

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