The Rise and Fall of Former Seahawks CB Brandon Browner
Back in 2005, the Denver Broncos signed a little-known undrafted free agent cornerback out of Oregon State, but his stint as an NFL player didn't last very long.
After fracturing his forearm in a preseason game, the Broncos placed Brandon Browner on the injured reserve list, and after the conclusion of the season, they waived him. Without any other NFL teams expressing interest, he went north of the border and transformed himself into a star in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders in 2006.
After five seasons in the CFL and a Grey Cup title, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll decided to take a chance on the 6-foot-4 Browner, signing him to a three-year deal worth $1.245 million. A complete unknown entering training camp, he outplayed his contract in his first season in Seattle, as he led the league in passes defended with 23 and added six interceptions.
Starring in Carroll's Cover 3 heavy scheme as one of the game's most dominating press cover corners, Browner made to his first Pro Bowl appearance and became one of the founding faces of the "Legion of Boom" secondary, proving himself to be quite the free agent signing steal for the Seahawks.
Analysis: Five best free agency signings during the John Schneider era in Seattle.
Unfortunately, two seasons later, Browner sat idle serving an indefinite suspension as the Seahawks captured their first-ever Super Bowl title in franchise history without him. Slated to miss the first four games at the beginning of the 2014-15 season due to violating the league's substance abuse policy, the Seahawks decided it was time to move on.
On March 14, 2014, NFL Media reporter Albert Breer reported that Browner and the Patriots agreed to a three-deal worth $17 million.
Rebounding from his latest suspension, Browner helped the Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX against his former team. During the offseason, the Patriots decided not to pick up Browner's $2 million roster bonus, which made him a free agent.
The following season, he would sign with the Saints on a three-year deal worth $15 million. Unfortunately for both sides, it only lasted a year before the Saints released the one-time Pro Bowler, leaving the organization on the hook for $5.35 million.
Browner returned to Seattle on a one-year deal, but he failed to make it past the third preseason game before being released. Without football to lean on, his life quickly spiraled out of control, setting in motion an unthinkable fall from grace for the former star.
First, Browner was arrested by police in May 2017 by the Los Angeles police for being under the influence and in possession of cocaine. Months earlier, he'd been cited for making criminal threats towards an unidentified woman, a sign of foreshadowing for far worse behavior in the near future.
Nearly a year later in July 2018, Browner broke into the home of an ex-girlfriend through a locked window, allegedly exerting physical force and threatening her after entering. He eventually fled the scene with a stolen Rolex watch. Within hours, police apprehended him and he was arrested an attempted murder and three other felonies, including child endangerment.
On December 4, 2018, Browner was sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted murder after pleading no contest.
“In spite of this horrible outcome, I am thankful to God you didn’t kill [the former girlfriend], and the officers didn’t hurt you,” the mother said, according to a transcript of the hearing. “Because it could be much worse for all of us in this courtroom. Our hope for you, Brandon, is that you use this time to get the help you desperately need.”
Per the Los Angeles Times, Browner was transferred to Wasco State Prison near Bakersfield, California last week, where he will serve the remainder of his eight-year term for attempted murder and two misdemeanor counts of child cruelty.
Once revered for his intimidating presence as a lead cog in one of the best secondaries in NFL history, Browner unfortunately isn't the first star athlete to see everything crumble around him when his playing days concluded.
For the sake of him, his family, past teammates, and friends, here's hoping he seeks much-needed counseling while serving time and will return to society having learned from his past transgressions once his sentence ends.