Shortly after 7 p.m. on Friday night, after Arthur Brown Jr. got a phone call that would change his life forever, he couldn’t help but be something he’d never been in two years as an all-Big 12 linebacker at Kansas State.
That is, kind of flustered.
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Getting picked by the defending Super Bowl champions will do that to a guy.
“I just … didn’t know how to conceive this moment in my head, how to even picture it … there was a mix of emotions sitting there (watching the draft),” Brown said, a huge smile plastered on his face. “I didn’t have expectations going into this, I just wanted to let God allow me to do what I needed to do.”
Brown, who played in high school at Wichita East, was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the NFL Draft, the 56th overall pick. He’ll be counted on to replace Ray Lewis, who retired in February after leading the Ravens to their second Super Bowl victory.
Brown watched the first round of the draft in the basement of his parents’ house in Wichita surrounded by friends and family on Thursday night and again on Friday. Mock drafts had him projected as a low-first to early-second-round selection.
The pick touched off a wild celebration as Brown hugged his mother, Lelonnie, first, then enveloped his mother and father, Arthur Sr., in a gigantic bear hug.
Brown talked to Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome, coach John Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Dean Pees just minutes before the pick was announced.
“They told me they wanted me, that they believed in me,” Brown said. “I told them I’m ready to get this going, that I feel like I’m definitely capable and confident and ready to get to work.”
Brown, 6 feet and 240 pounds, led the Wildcats in tackles the last two seasons and was chosen Big 12 defensive player of the year as a senior as K-State won its first Big 12 title since 2003. Brown’s younger brother, Bryce, a former K-State running back, was selected by Philadelphia in the seventh round of last year’s draft and became the starter for the Eagles late last season.
Baltimore is about a two-hour drive from Philadelphia. Bryce and Arthur spoke just minutes after the pick was announced.
“(Bryce) was just excited for me, he told me I’m not too far away and that if I’m down there tomorrow they plan on coming to see me,” Arthur said. “He just kept congratulating me, telling me how proud he was.”
Brown’s path to the NFL Draft included a two-year stint at Miami to start his college career, then a transfer to Kansas State, where he sat out the 2010 season.
“I always feel like hard work pays off,” said Brown’s adviser, Brian Butler. “It’s a beginning. … I always say it’s not how you act when good things happen, but when bad things happen, too. That’s the true test. You’ve got to keep moving forward.”
Arthur’s parents were overjoyed at the prospect of having their sons living so close to each other.
“Baltimore is just a great fit, I think it’s just a blessing,” Arthur Sr. said. “We couldn’t have asked for any better situation. I’m looking forward to it. It’s an exciting time and I’m ecstatic about it.”