Monday, January 14, 2013
Former Berkeley Stags standout Omar Brown has been activated from the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens practice squad, and saw action on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
According to a release filed by the Ravens on its website (www.baltimoreravens.com) Brown was activated from the practice squad to fill a hole on special teams. Brown takes the spot of rookie cornerback Asa Jackson who was suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the league’s performance enhancing drugs policy.
“We need a defensive back, so Omar will be the guy on that and he’s ready to go,” Baltimore Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s been practicing all year and we feel like he’ll contribute for us.”
Brown, a 2007 Berkeley graduate and an undrafted rookie out of Marshall, was signed to the practice squad after an impressive preseason when he netted five turnovers. He is now expected to take on a special teams role, playing on both punt and kick coverage.
“I knew once I got moved up that it was going to be a special teams role,” Brown said. “I wasn’t surprised by that, and that’s a role I’m ready to take on.”
Spending the year on the practice squad helped give Brown an appreciation and understanding for what it takes to play special teams at the professional level.
“The practice squad really helped me with special teams when I first got here … NFL special teams is not your typical special teams at the college level,” Brown said. “It helped me understand special teams a little bit more.”
Sunday’s game against Detroit would be Brown’s first opportunity to play in an NFL game, and he’s focused on not getting too caught up in the emotions of the moment. “It’s still a football game, don’t go out there and overreact,” he said. “Just go out there and do what you know how to do, what you’ve been taught to do.”
Brown joins a stellar list of former Berkeley Stags gridiron stars to make it to the NFL stage. This list includes Berkeley Athletics Hall of Fame members Ryan Stewart who played with the Detroit Lions; Mike Dingle, a Cincinnati Bengals alum; the late Clarence Williams who played with the Washington Redskins; and Ron Atkins, currently an assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals.
An all-state selection in 2007, Brown led Berkeley with 100 tackles, 11 interceptions and 25 pass breakups. He played in the North-South All-Star game in 2006.
Former Berkeley Stags assistant coach Ed Moore, now the head football coach at Barnwell, said at the time of Brown’s signing with the Ravens that there was no one more deserving of the opportunity to play in the NFL.
“Omar is the kind of player and person that if given an opportunity, there’s no telling what he can turn it into,” Moore said. “I remember his senior year in high school … there were several schools that told me that he was too small, or not fast enough. Marshall gave him an opportunity and he became a two-year captain and all-conference safety.”
Brown has two brothers currently playing major college football. Kory Brown, (Berkeley 2008) is a defensive back at Kentucky and Evan MacKelvey, (Berkeley 2009) is a safety at Marshall.