Veteran running back Chris Brown making most of 1-year deal with Titans Print
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Wednesday, 12 September 2007 12:27
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 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -In the span of a year, Chris Brown has gone from a starter wanting to be traded to the bench to an unwanted free agent. Now he's back in vogue again, coming off the best game of his career.
The Titans running back has learned not to take anything for granted.
``It's just how this league is,'' Brown said Wednesday after being picked as the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. ``It's all based on 'What have you done for me lately?' You've got to go out and perform every day. Every play, you've got to go out and show you're the best and show why you belong.''
Brown definitely belongs after averaging 9.2 yards per carry while running 19 times for 175 yards last week against Jacksonville. It was his seventh career 100-yard game and second-highest by a running back on this team since the start of the 2001 season.
Not bad for someone whose phone didn't ring when free agency started in March.
``Really, the first couple weeks of free agency were hard,'' Brown said. ``After a while, you say forget it. Someone's going to come along. I have to keep working. It's going to pay off, and I'll take advantage of the opportunity I'm going to get.''
It was a strange tumble.
A third-round pick out of Colorado in 2003, the 6-foot-3 Brown spent a season learning under Eddie George. He took over as the starter in 2004 and rushed for 100 yards in four of his first five games, including 152 against Indianapolis, in his only 1,000-yard season.
He shared carries with Travis Henry in 2005 and went into 2006 as the starter when his agent demanded Brown be traded before training camp. Brown started three of the first four games, then lost his job to Henry and watched from the bench for 11 of the final 14 games.
But Brown never complained publicly. He waited for free agency, then nobody called.
So Brown concentrated on working out, running and lifting weights almost daily with a trainer in Chicago. He added eight pounds of muscle to put him at 230 pounds, determined to be ready when someone did call.
The Chicago Bears, his hometown team, were interested. But the Titans called in June, wanting to bring him back. He needed a couple of days to decide he would come back on the one-year contract.
``It wasn't that hard,'' Brown said.
He impressed his teammates with his strength and conditioning in the final minicamp he attended, and he sat out only a couple of sessions in training camp.
Ask Brown about his performance in the 13-10 win at Jacksonville, he credits the offensive line, which helped the Titans finish with the fifth-best rushing offense in 2006. He said he had such big holes that he thought he had ran 100 yards or so.
Whether his performance earns him a start Sunday against Indianapolis (1-0) remains to be seen. Officially, LenDale White, the Titans' second-round draft pick last year, is on the depth chart at starter.
White said he's comfortable with what he calls a ``two-headed monster'' in sharing carries with Brown. White had 66 yards against Jacksonville, and he said he was excited by Brown's big game.
``Hopefully, he'll come out and do it again this week,'' White said.
Brown said he won't think about what might happen at the end of this season. He refuses to look more than a week ahead at this point.
Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who joined the Titans himself on a one-year deal in 2005, understands.
``You're out there to prove yourself,'' Vanden Bosch said. ``Much like myself, I was on the streets for a long time and wasn't getting a lot of interest. He just wanted the chance to come in and prove he's a good player, and he did that. I think he'll continue to do that the rest of the season.''
 

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