Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Former Berkeley Stags great Omar Brown has won a Super Bowl ring.
Brown, a defensive back, is a member of the world champion Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens defeated San Francisco Sunday in New Orleans.
This time last year, for Brown, just getting the opportunity to play in the NFL was a wishful dream.
This past football season Brown took those dreams and rode them all the way to New Orleans. And he brought his family with him.
Joining the Baltimore Ravens’ rookie defensive back at the Super Dome were his mother Stella McKelvey, and younger brothers Kory Brown and Evan McKelvey.
Both younger brothers also play Division I college football, Kory at Kentucky, and Evan, like his big brother, at Marshall.
For Stella it’s all about the journey with her sons.
“It’s been a long journey to get here and we’re so thankful and happy to be where we are today,” she said. “We’ve been praying and praying and praying, day by day for Omar. He put so much hard work into this and it is finally paying off for him.”
Decked out in her Ravens and Marshall gear, McKelvey flew out of Charleston on Friday afternoon to meet up with her sons in New Orleans. There, they were joined by former Berkeley assistant and current Barnwell head football coach Ed Moore, to enjoy Super Bowl weekend festivities and catch Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday night.
Omar signed with the Ravens as a free agent last August and survived training camp cuts to play on the team’s practice squad. In November, management activated the defensive back and Brown made his NFL debut wearing number 38.
“Seeing Omar on TV for the first time … well, I am a big football fan and I just went crazy,” McKelvey said. “I got real quiet. I was nervous for him.”
While playing mostly special teams and punt coverage, Brown impressed both teammates and coaches enough to remain on the active roster through the playoffs and into Super Bowl.
Brother Kory, a linebacker and defensive back for the Kentucky Wildcats, said that Omar caught the eye of head coach John Harbaugh who said, “He has a nose for the ball. He’s special.”
“Omar is playing alongside his idols Ray Lewis and Ed Reed,” Brown said. “Reed said of Omar, ‘He reminds me of me.’”
Kory couldn’t be more proud of his big brother, saying his brother earned this opportunity through years of hard work.
“It’s a blessing and I couldn't be more excited for him,” he said. “Most people use the term ‘you deserve it,’ but I personally feel that no one deserves anything, you earn it, and he has done just that. All his life he's been working his butt off and grinding hard for everything he ever wanted.”
“His work ethic is mind-blowing, and when I hear it from others, in the back of my head I'm like, oh yeah, that sounds like O.”
Having three sons playing major college football and now one making the next step to the NFL is quite the family accomplishment and it does not go unnoticed with their mother.
“They all make me proud,” she said. “Omar is so well-deserving. It goes beyond words almost right now. I’m a proud momma.
“I just thank God, my family, and Lord knows, Coach Moore, and all the Berkeley Stags.”