You will find a wonderful Larry Brown biography here, so THN thought that in place of the bio on the legends page, we would have staff member Scott Peek's recollections and memories of Mr. Brown instead...
By Scott Peek
I had only been back in the United States a year when I first saw Larry Brown run. I grew up in Okinawa, Belgium and Australia, so football was a game that was completely foreign to me, but I watched and I learned. It didn’t take long for me to fall for the Redskins hard, and the main reason was their fearless running back, Mr. Brown.
Drafted out of Kansas State with the 191st pick in the draft, the 5’11” 195lb Brown didn’t seem like he fit the bill as the prototypical NFL running back. His career started slowly, but he was fortunate to be coached by the legendary Vince Lombardi who noticed that he was starting slightly behind the snap of the ball. Testing showed he was hearing-impaired in one ear and was watching the lineman move rather than listening to the quarterback snap count. After getting his helmet fitted with an ear-piece, the responsiveness to the snap count was dramatically improved and he was hitting holes much quicker. He finished his rookie year with a strong 888 yards rushing with a 4.4 yards per carry average.
From 1969 to 1976, Larry Brown laid it on the line every time he touched the ball for the burgundy and gold. In his 8 seasons as a Redskin, Larry gained a record 5,875 yards for a 3.8 average and 35 touchdowns. He made 4 pro bowls, was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year and NFL MVP in 1972. He rushed for 1,216 yards in 1972, despite sitting out the final 2 games of the season.
But all the stats meant nothing to me; I just loved to watch him run. He was a downhill churning runner that wouldn’t go out of bounds, and dished out as much punishment as he received, and believe me, he received a lot. His bruising style and the fact that he was THE feature back meant that his career was shortened due to the sheer amount of abuse his body took.
There are too many memorable games to mention here, but the final regular season game in 1973 at home against the Philadelphia Eagles stands out as maybe the greatest. It was December 16 and it was snowing, so a mixture of snow and mud had covered the RFK field. The stage was set for a legendary game and Larry Brown came to play. He rushed for 150 yards, caught 3 passes for 105 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. But that tells just a bit of the story; he willed and bulled his way for every yard. He had already been through a grueling season and the constant pounding that comes with it, but at the snap of the ball he was off.
I remember his teammates helping him up after some tough hits or long runs, and him limping back to the huddle. This guy can’t have anything left in the tank I thought, but when his number was called again and again, he played like he was shot out of a cannon. I had never seen, nor have I seen since, an individual performance of a running back like I did that cold December afternoon. The 38-20 win secured a place in the playoffs and was the 10th win that year.
There are too many memories to put into words, too many highlights that live on for me and others who were fortunate enough to have seen Larry Brown play the game. He will always be a Hall of Famer in my book and one of the Greatest Redskins to have ever have played the game.
- Scott Peek
For a complete transcript of a Q&A that THN did with Larry Brown, click here.
Be sure to check out Larry's website, and Wikipedia page for more information.