Thursday, March 13, 2014
Brown focuses more on wins than touches
By Eric D. Williams
SAN DIEGO -- With the signing of running back Donald Brown and middle linebacker Kavell Conner in free agency, San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco used his familiarity with the Indianapolis Colts' roster in the recruitment of his former players.
Brown, signed to a three-year, $10.5 million deal, was a first-round draft choice by Indianapolis in the 2009 draft during Telesco's tenure in the Colts' personnel department. Conner was a seventh-round selection by Indianapolis in the 2010 draft.
Both players said that familiarity with Telesco, along with an opportunity for increased playing time, helped sell them on signing with the Chargers.
"He was Bill Polian's right-hand man," Brown said about Telesco. "He's a big reason why I came to Indianapolis, and also a big reason for why I'm here now. So I'm very thankful for that, along with the Spanos family and Coach [Mike] McCoy for having faith in me, and bringing me in."
Brown said he met Ryan Mathews at the team's facility Thursday. Asked about carving out a role among a productive running back group that includes Mathews and Danny Woodhead, Brown said he'll do his best to fit in.
"That's my job, to complement those two," he said. "It's going to be a three-headed monster. And I'm very excited to work with those guys. I respect the heck out of them. And I think they're two great ballplayers. The more weapons we have on offense, the better we're going to be as a team. And that's the ultimate goal. That's why we're all here."
Although Brown believes he can be a starter in the NFL, he is more concerned about winning games.
"That's not my goal," Brown said. "My goal is to help the team, help the offense any way I can win games. I don't care if I start a game. It's about finishing strong and helping the team anyway you can."
Along with Telesco, Brown has familiarity with players on San Diego's roster from his days in Indianapolis, including edge rusher Dwight Freeney and defensive end Lawrence Guy. Brown also played college ball at Connecticut with defensive end Kendall Reyes and developed a relationship with running backs coach Ollie Wilson during the draft process in 2009.
"We hit it off real well during the draft process back in 2009 when I came out here for a visit," Brown said about Wilson. "So we're just picking up where we left off. So I'm excited to work with Coach Ollie, and obviously work with Ryan and Danny."
Along with Freeney and Guy from his days in Indianapolis, Conner also played with current Chargers Crezdon Butler and Marcus Gilchrist at Clemson.
"After I signed, both of them shot me a text message welcoming me to their city," Conner said, smiling. "It's definitely going to be good to reunite with those guys."
Conner said playing physical in the run game is a strength, along with making contributions on special teams. He expects the learning curve to be quick because the Colts run a similar defensive system under head coach Chuck Pagano, the older brother of Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano.
"There's a lot of carryover from Indy, which is very convenient," Conner said. "I'm just looking forward to getting into it, getting into the playbook and getting adjusted."