A Louisville football story we can all root for.
With the tough start to the 2020 Louisville football season, thank god we have the NFL on Sunday’s. During the 1-4 start to the year Sunday’s have become my sanctuary, providing so much to get excited about when it comes to the Cards.
Whether it be reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, rising star receiver DeVante Parker or the newest Carolina Panther, Teddy Bridgewater; just about every weekend of the new NFL season has come with highlight plays from our beloved Cards.
This Sunday will be no different, but we’ll have a new name to get behind as we root on the players who at one time rocked the red and black in Cardinal Stadium.
The name may not ring a bell, but this morning the Jacksonville Jaguars officially made the move to sign former Louisville football place kicker Jon Brown to their active roster.
If you’re not familiar with Brown, he’s got a story that makes it damn near impossible not to root for him. As a star soccer player and US under 17 team member, he started his career at the University of Kentucky before pulling a soccer version of Marvin Stone and transferring to Louisville to play both soccer and football.
Playing one season, Brown kicked off for the Cards nine times before suffering a season-ending injury in what would be his only year of action in Louisville but never actually kicked a field goal.
An NFL career looked about as possible for Brown at that time as did it for me, but as the saying goes “if you have talent, the NFL will find you.” His raw kicking ability & power along with oozing potential eventually earned him the chance to sign with the Cincinnati Bengals, again, without ever kicking a field goal.
Then Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons said of Brown’s ability:
“He’s got the leg strength and he has a base understanding of technique. He just doesn’t have game experience. Any time you get someone new like that it’s like a raw piece of clay you try to mold. We’ll see where it goes after a couple of weeks.”
Unfortunately, Brown never got the opportunity to kick for the Bengals but because of his incredible athleticism and raw ability continued to get chances to make NFL rosters.
In March of 2019 Brown signed a multi-year deal with the 49ers and looked to finally find a home, but once again never got the opportunity to see the field during game action. He ultimately would be cut there as well, before landing on the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars, in a move that made zero waves across the NFL.
This is where the story gets good.
After nearly three years of bouncing around the NFL and still having never kicked a field goal in a game that counts, Brown has officially made it onto an NFL roster and will get the opportunity to show what he can do against the Detroit Lions.
Today, Brown will look to make history on many different fronts. I couldn’t find any statistics to back this claim up, so please bare with me, but when the former Louisville kicker takes the field to attempt a field goal for the Jaguars, he’ll become one of the first (likely the first) to make an NFL field goal having never done so in college.
He’ll also join a very short list of black kickers to make a field goal in a regular season game, joining names like Donlad Igwebuike, Justin Medlock, and Cedric Oglesby, something Brown has waited for his entire NFL career.
Back in 2018, Brown told Fletcher Page of the Courier Journal:
“Now I have a chance to make history. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m glad I didn’t kick a field goal in college. It makes it that much sweeter.”
Watching the Jaguars/Lions wasn’t exactly in my plans for this Sunday of NFL action, but with Brown having a chance to do something historic, I’ll be locked in to every single second.