Ex-Giant DB tries out for Baltimore

April 03, 1995|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

He wore No. 61 in blue numerals on a white T-shirt, and like everyone else at Johns Hopkins University, was trying to learn the nuances of the Canadian Football League on the run.

But there was one big distinction between Roger Brown and approximately 190 others attending a tryout camp for the Baltimore Football Club yesterday:

He could list on his resume the fact he had played in a Super Bowl -- XXV -- as a member of the world champion New York Giants.

Even if this wasn't the road back to the Super Bowl, it was a starting-over point for the former Cardinal Gibbons High standout who played his last professional game in 1993.

"I had an opportunity to go to Winnipeg," said Brown, 28. "They wanted me to go to a rookie camp. [But] I wanted to play for my hometown. If I don't play for my hometown, it is kind of defeating the purpose."

Brown, who played three years as a defensive back with the Giants, will put Winnipeg on hold while he waits to see if Baltimore offers him a contract. Jim Popp, Baltimore's assistant general manager and personnel chief, was noncommittal on an offer yesterday, but said he is interested.

"I told him we'll evaluate him against the others we're looking at," Popp said. "He's very similar to Alvin Walton. He didn't run a great 40 time. But you can't replace experience. You can see he has played the game. He still moves well."

Like Walton, a punishing safety Baltimore converted to a linebacker, Popp envisions Brown at strong-side linebacker, where Tracey Gravely is the incumbent.

At 6 feet and 207 pounds, Brown is bigger than in his NFL days. That size cost him last year when the Minnesota Vikings wanted to look at him as a free safety. Although his two 40-yard times were both over 4.77 seconds, he had a good time of 4.34 in the shorter shuttle drill.

"He's got good quickness and good football sense, kind of what Alvin brought," said linebackers coach Darryl Edralin.

Brown was a role player in his four years in the NFL before a knee injury with the New England Patriots ended that career in 1993. He was a nickel back and special teams player, and played in 40 games, starting three. When he sat out last season, he came home to Baltimore.

"If this works out, great," Brown said. "If it doesn't, I'll still come out and watch. Football will be in my blood until I die."

NOTES: In addition to Brown, Baltimore remains interested in former Towson State quarterback Dan Crowley, who attended both workouts but so far hasn't been offered a contract. "Dan did extremely well the last two days," Popp said. "Before we sign him, we want to make sure he has an opportunity to compete." Said Crowley, "They're waiting to see if anything better comes along." . . . . Other players who drew interest were running back Eric Evans of Virginia State, receivers John Jarvis of Howard and Stacy Graves of Virginia Union, defensive back Kevin Allen of Virginia State, linebackers Dennis Harris of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Chris Woods of Alabama A&M and kicker Anthony Brenner of East Carolina.

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