Posted by: Imaginary Moderator on Apr 20, 2012
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Less than a month ago, not a soul in Miami could have told you anything about an NFL prospect named Les Brown; not even Coach Philbin or the rest of the staff. All of that abruptly changed, however, after BYU’s Pro Day where 24 year old Brown put up some truly mind boggling numbers in the 40 yard dash (4.43) and vertical leap (39 inches). The story gets even more bizarre though because this 6’ 4”, 238 pound athlete was not a senior at BYU or a football player from another college; Les hadn’t played a single down on the gridiron since high school.
In fact, he went to Westminster College on a basketball scholarship. With a sick mother and a dad who traveled extensively for work, Les decided to stay close to home allowing him to contribute around the house. In fact, sports were all but a faded dream until Les was introduced to Chad Ikei by two of his younger brothers. One thing eventually led to another and the next thing you know, Brown found himself glancing towards his brothers, both of whom were on the BYU football team and pushing him to not give up on his dream.
Even though Brown has seemingly defied all odds and signed a three year contract with the Miami Dolphins, he’s the first to admit that the real hard work hasn’t even begun yet. Phinzmania got a chance earlier this week to sit down and talk with Les Brown about his incredible journey over the past several months; here’s that interview in its entirety-
First off, we saw the video of the BYU pro day work out and several of our members were wondering how bad the ankle was feeling while you were going through the drills?
By the way, you get massive points with the fans for going through with the Pro Day with the sprain.
First of all, thank you for the kind words. As for the ankle, it was very sore leading up to the Pro Day, but once I got to the facility and saw all of the scouts, my adrenaline kicked in and the excitement of the moment helped the pain in my ankle become an afterthought. I braced the ankle up and was fortunate to make it through the day without too much discomfort, but by the time we finished, the soreness and swelling was quick to return.
Did it hinder you in the forty yard dash or is that about where you expected to run?
I cannot say for sure whether or not having the bum ankle affected my performance on the 40 yard dash. I was expecting to run a low 4.4 so I won't complain with the results.
How much of an effect did it have on your change of direction that day?
The lateral drills were a bit of a different story; I didn't feel as solid or explosive coming out of my cuts in the shuttles and 3-cone drill but given the circumstances, I was just happy to be able to finish and record decent times.
We heard the story that you passed on playing football at Oregon, Washington State, and BYU. Did you pass on them because basketball was your first love, or was it more about wanting to stay close to home where your family was?
The decision to play basketball was a combination of factors. First, basketball was my first love growing up and as a 6'4", 180 lb. kid coming out of high school, it seemed like the ideal decision. At the time, my mother was also dealing with some health issues. As the eldest of five children, I felt it would be in the best interest of my family to stick close to home and help hold down the fort while my father traveled frequently for work. Family has always been, and always will be a huge part of my life. I was grateful for the opportunity to get a great private school education, play hoops, and stay close to home so that is why I made the decision to attend Westminster College.
What has been the toughest part transitioning from basketball to football?
I imagine that the toughest part still awaits me--the physicality of NFL football. This league is full of big, strong, fast men flying around trying to knock each other down. It's been quite a while since I last strapped the pads on and banged around but I look forward to the opportunity and understand that I have a lot to prove in this area. As a basketball guy, I'm sure people will automatically throw the "soft" label around and it's my goal to prove otherwise.
The news is reporting that you signed a three year deal, is that correct?
That is correct, I signed a three year deal and once again, I am honored to be able to say that.
Did the Dolphins tell you what they envisioned your role to be? I'm guessing with the blend of size and speed they see you as a Jermichael Finley type player, someone who can line up at TE, split out wide, or be used as an H-back moving you all over the field to create a mismatch.
In speaking with the coaches, I was given the impression that they are indeed looking for a tight end with the blend of size and speed that you mentioned. I believe that I bring both of those attributes to the table and I hope that I can put my skills to work and help improve this Miami Dolphin football team. Whatever my role may be, I am excited for the opportunity and look forward to the challenging work ahead of me. I do not feel entitled to anything and I understand that I have to work to earn the respect of my coaches and teammates.
Jeff Ireland has caught a lot of flak in the media recently. What was your first impression when you met him, as well as your first impression when you met Coach Philbin?
I was very impressed with both Mr. Ireland and Coach Philbin. I think they have a solid vision of where they want to take this football team and most importantly, I know that they both want to win. That is what this league is all about; winning football games and ultimately, the Super Bowl. Both of these gentlemen want to win and so do I.
With your off-the-charts athletic ability, was there any talk of maybe trying you at another position?
All of my talks with the coaches and front office folks were focused on me at the tight end position. As I said earlier though, I want to win and do whatever I can to help the Dolphins bring the Lombardi Trophy back to the city of Miami.
Would you be willing to switch positions if asked? I am an athlete who enjoys making plays and I am willing to play wherever the coaches think I best serve the team. Offense, defense, special teams, I am up for anything. I just want to make an impact.
Les, we genuinely appreciate your time and we wish you nothing but the best of luck on making the roster this upcoming season. All of us will be rooting for you.
I truly appreciate the amazing support that I have received from the Dolphin fan base and look forward to joining the Miami community. It is an honor to be a Miami Dolphin; I feel truly blessed.