'He always stayed in great touch with Richard and Kam and Earl and Tharold, and he always considered himself a member of the Legion of Boom,' Browner's agent said. 'He never left.'
One measure of how excited Brandon Browner was to rejoin the Legion of Boom? The once-again Seahawks cornerback planned to fly straight from his brother’s wedding in Maui to get to Seattle in time to sign his contract and join the team’s official off-season program which begins Monday, according to his agent, Peter Schaffer.
The Seahawks announced Sunday that Browner had agreed to terms to rejoin Seattle, the deal reportedly for one year (specific details have yet to be made available). The 31-year-old Browner became a free agent when he was released by the New Orleans Saints in March one season into a three-year contract that paid him $7.75 million guaranteed, a total that includes his 2016 base salary of $2.75 million.
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Schaffer said Sunday he had been talking to the Seahawks about a deal with Browner “for a while” with the announcement of the agreement coming the day before the team begins its voluntary nine-week off-season training program.
Schaffer said when he told Browner that the Seahawks were interested in bringing him back “I’ve never heard him happier. I really haven’t.”
Indeed, Schaffer said that Browner in some ways still always felt like a Seahawk even while playing the last two years with New England and New Orleans.
“He always stayed in great touch with Richard and Kam and Earl and Tharold (Simon) and he always considered himself a member of the Legion of Boom,” Schaffer said. “He never left.”
Browner revived his NFL career with the Seahawks in 2011 after having played four years in the CFL following his release from Denver in 2006. In his initial stint with the Seahawks, Browner became a founding member of the Legion of Boom secondary along with fellow corner Richard Sherman and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Together, the four set the foundation for a Seattle defense that helped turn the team around coach Pete Carroll and lead to the franchise’s first Super Bowl win following the 2013 season.
Browner didn’t play in the Super Bowl following a groin injury against Atlanta in November (he had also been reported as being suspended for missing drug tests required for a past violation of the league’s policies, something Browner characterized as a misunderstanding, ultimately sitting out the first four games of the 2014 season with New England).
Browner signed a three-year contract worth a total of $12.35 million and a maximum value of almost $17 million with the Patriots in March, 2014. Schaffer said at the time, the Seahawks simply didn’t have the salary cap room to keep him (also having Byron Maxwell in place as a cheaper starter for the 2014 season, as well).
“That was more of a (salary) cap issue,” said Schaffer. “Brandon was going to get more money then they had. … it wasn’t like ‘we don’t want him back’ but like ‘shoot, if you are going to get that kind of money there’s no way we can afford him.’’’
He became a free agent again following the 2014 season when the Patriots declined an option on his contract, and then signed with New Orleans. The Saints released Browner after a season in which their pass defense allowed an NFL record 45 touchdown passes and an opponent passer rating of 116.1.
Browner has since revealed he played the season with a torn knee ligament (meniscus). Schaffer said the knee will be healthy for the 2016 season. That Browner battled a knee injury last year but will be healthy now is one reason the Seahawks were intrigued about re-signing him.
“The most important thing is that Brandon never, ever complains,” Schaffer said. He will never make excuses and he will never complain. He just goes out there and plays. All last year it was ‘how you doing?’ And he’d say ‘all right. I‘ve got a game Sunday.’ He never made an excuse that ‘well I had a torn meniscus.”’
In the wake of Browner’s signing there was immediate speculation that he could be brought in to compete for the right cornerback spot opposite Sherman with Jeremy Lane — recently re-signed to a four-year, $23 million deal — playing in the slot. But Schaffer said Browner comes in ready to handle whatever role the team asks.
“However they want to use him, that’s up to the coaching staff,” Schaffer said. “Brandon’s never worried about that.”
Instead, he said Browner simply couldn’t wait to again put on his familiar Seahawks 39 jersey, though he may have to pry win it back from Mohammed Seisay, who is currently assigned that number.
“He played his best football with the Seahawks,” Schaffer said. “And he went to two Super Bowls in three years (including his appearance with New England). I think he wants to go to three Super Bowls in four years.”