Before training camps kick off, a number of players and some coaches will pay tribute to people who helped them make it to the NFL as part of the AFC South Blog’s summer series: “Early Influence.”
Tony Brown, Titans defensive tackle
“It’s weird, when I was younger, where I am from, nobody was really pushing anyone to play any football. It was more so parents putting you out there to keep you busy.
“When I was in San Francisco, it was Bryant Young. He played for a long time and he’s a future Hall of Famer. When I got there, I didn’t know how to study film, I didn’t know all the stuff that I had. He was telling me, teaching me how to study film of my opponent, how to keep my body healthy and stuff like that.
“That was in 2003. I stay in touch with him all the time. I tell him all the time, every time I talk to him I tell him. I tell him that I appreciate him. He was an older guy, he didn’t have to talk to a little guy like me. But he’s just a nice, good guy. He stayed late. I went over his house and watched film. He just showed me a whole lot about how to put myself in position to make plays and things to look for in different type of blocking schemes and patterns, different ways you can get him.
“So I look at how the guard sets, how he puts his feet. I look at the quarterback’s hands. If he opens his hands before the ball is there or has a slight lean before the ball is there, it’s probably pass. Or when they tighten up you know it’s run.
“Before that, I was just out there running around reckless, you know? I think I would be here without him, but I’d have been learning it on the back end. I’m glad I got the wisdom that I got early.
“It made me feel good that an older guy like that just took some time with me.”