Founding Legion of Boom member Brandon Browner said he is happy to be back in Seattle and in a new role as a safety in his second stint with the Seahawks.
RENTON — Brandon Browner has never been afraid of contact.
But there’s thing he says he’s trying not to touch during his second stint with the Seahawks — the ill-fated ending (for Seattle, anyway) of Super Bowl XLIX. Browner was a member of the New England Patriots and helped disrupt Seattle’s final offensive play by jamming Jermaine Kearse at the line, helping clear the way for Malcolm Butler to intercept Russell Wilson’s pass.
“I try to leave that one alone, man,’’ Browner said after Thursday’s organized team activity when asked if the topic arises in the Seattle locker room “It (comes up) every now and again. But hey, I try and leave it alone.’’
Everything else, though, Browner wants to be right in the middle of as he attempts to resurrect his career again in Seattle.
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It was here that Browner made his name in the NFL as a founding member of the Legion of Boom in 2011, arriving after four years in the CFL and a brief stint in Denver to begin his career.
After three years in Seattle, he signed with the Patriots and helped the team win the Super Bowl, then signed last season with New Orleans. Browner found the going tough in the Big Easy, though. He was called for 24 penalties (21 accepted), which according to ESPN were the most for one player since at least 2001. He became a target of fans and the media as the Saints struggled on defense, allowing an NFL-record 45 touchdown passes.
After being waived by the Saints, Browner said he also had an offer from Washington (where former Seahawks senior personnel executive Scot McCloughan is the GM). But when the Seahawks called, Browner said it was “a no-brainer.’’
“I’m happy to have a job,’’ said Browner, who turns 32 on Aug. 2, in what were his first comments to the Seattle media at-large since he re-signed with the team in April. “Happy to be playing with my friends again.’’
Even if he will do so from somewhat new places. A cornerback during his first stint with the Seahawks, Browner is now a safety. Reporters got their first glimpse of the switch Thursday during the first of three Seattle OTAs that will be open to the media.
Browner often lined up in a strong safety-style spot near the line, covering tight ends. He also regularly was in a formation in which the team had six defensive backs, one linebacker (Bobby Wagner) and four defensive lineman on the field, a so-called dime formation that Seattle has not used much in recent seasons. At times Browner also dropped back deep in a true safety role, helping cover the middle of the field, doing — as he wryly noted later — everything that a safety is typically asked to do.
“I love it,’’ Browner said. “It’s kind of similar to some of the things I did in New England. I’ll be matched up on guys that fit my size, be in there on the run a little bit. It’ll show my skill set a little bit. … Playing corner, it’s more of a one-on-one thing — we’re playing basketball out there on that island. When you’re in that box, that’s football, I think.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted that Browner’s 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame makes him a natural to match up with tight ends, an issue for the Seahawks in recent seasons. But he also said the Seahawks simply want to find ways to get Browner — who signed a one-year deal worth $760,000 — on the field.
“He’s a football player, so we’re trying to find a place where he can help contribute and bring that toughness and competitiveness that he has to add to the team,’’ Carroll said.
“ … He was wide open to it. I had the chance to see him play in positions like he’s being asked to play now when he was in New England, and we saw some really good things we thought we could mix into our stuff, and he’s very much looked the part. But I really think it’s about him. We like the guy so much. … he’s looked very good at it, and I think it’s going to work out very well for us if we just keep making progress.”
Browner struggled with a knee injury last year. He has recovered, and the Seahawks think it had a lot to do with some of his issues on the field.
Last season, though, is another topic Browner doesn’t want to touch.
“I’m here in Seattle, and I don’t even want to talk about New Orleans,’’ he said.
What he will have to discuss with Carroll, though, are the penalties. Carroll was asked Thursday about Browner’s issues in New Orleans drawing flags.
“Just last year?’’ Carroll joked in response before detailing that Browner has had a history of ranking high in penalties dating to his CFL days. “He has been somewhat of a violator in that regard.
“ … Interestingly, we talked about that today that in his new role, the different style of players that me matches up, he’s got to develop his style where that isn’t a favor. We don’t want that to be an issue, and it has been in the past, so that’s a challenge for us.’’