Combat death resonates eight years later

A heads up: Seth Wickersham's latest piece for ESPN The Magazine recalls Army intelligence officer Lunsford "Deucey" Brown, killed in the Iraq war eight years ago, through younger brother Jason Brown, now in his third season as the St. Louis Rams' center.

In the middle of the night in Iraq, a mortar shell had hit his battalion outside Abu Ghraib prison. Deucey, by chance, absorbed most of the shrapnel. Army reports concluded that by doing so, the 27-year-old likely saved the lives of 11 other soldiers. But Deucey died, survived by his wife, Sherrie, and infant daughter, Amber. He never met his baby girl.

Months before his death, Deucey sent his little brother an e-mail, which Jason never answered. Hopefully I come back and catch one of your games. Did I tell you that I was playing 2003 NCAA College Football and ... it had your number, height and weight and your position? I was so happy that I told all my boys ... I love you bro and am so proud of you.

Jason Brown has struggled reconciling his own fame and fortune with the fate of his brother and other soldiers.

Lunsford Brown died Sept. 20, 2003.