CB Sheldon Brown leveled Reggie Bush in a game-changing play against the Saints in the 2006 NFC Divisional Playoffs...it is still one of the greatest Eagles defensive plays of all time...and one of the most-viewed sports video clips on YouTube.
Lost in the McMadness the past week was the trade of veteran corner Sheldon Brown to the Cleveland Browns (see Alex's report below). It was almost as if jettisoning Brown, the great cornerback and defensive vestige of the Eagles' last Super Bowl, was a sure omen that McNabb would be traded, too.
We barely had time to digest the loss of Sheldon Brown to the Browns. He deserves a proper farewell.
Sheldon Dion Brown, 5-10, 200, born in Lancaster, SC in 1979 and drafted in the 2nd round in 2002 out of the University of South Carolina, is in my mind a Philadelphia Eagle who belongs among the all-time best at his position. Moreover, his body of work and his personality represent the soul of the McNabb era--- victorious streaks of relentless competitiveness coupled with the tormented lows of heartbreaking defeats and an under-appreciating market.
Brown took over the cornerback job in the shadow of his precedents, the great Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent, as the Eagles made their move to NFC prominence in the new millenium. He'd still be there but for a host of nagging injuries, including tattered hamstrings, bruised ankles and a strained shoulder, that have slowed him down to mere mortal status. Although he failed to renegotiate his contract two years ago, he played through his bitterness...a sharp contrast to the sulk thrown down by his counterpart, Lito Sheppard...and he played well.
His consistent play was a marvel with a string of consecutive starts that may never be seen again at his position. All in all, Brown played in 128 games...and was usually assigned the shut-down mandate on the opposition's best receivers. Brown got credit for 459 tackles in his Eagles career--- 341 of them solo's. He recorded 19 interceptions, with 3 of those taken to the house. He also returned 2 fumble recoveries for TD's, and got credit for a total of 7 sacks. The guy earned his money.
Sheldon Brown is less known for his character off the field, but it should be stated for the record: he was and still is involved in a host of educational and social welfare foundations. He'll be spending most of his time in Cleveland now, but Sheldon has vowed not to abandon his charity work in Philly.
Which brings us back to The Hit...although entirely legal and clean, it was by no means a charitable act. The Hit made ESPN headlines alright, but it was more about the effect it had on Reggie Bush, a hot-shot rookie that season putting up huge receiving and rushing stats until...The Hit. Reggie seemed to be lost in space for years after that...fortunately, he's finally coming back into his own dimension now, and seems ready to be showcased again as a featured piece of an NFL offense.
For Sheldon Brown, The Hit was not personal...just business. "I saw that thing coming from a mile away," said Brown's teammate Omar Gaither, "because we actually practiced all week for that particular play and situation."
The Hit. Just Business. No harm or flash intended. Just pay me, and back to business...Sheldon Brown. Thanks for a great run as an Eagle, Sheldon, at one of the toughest positions in the sport.