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Olean, New York
Article: THEN & NOW | LARRY BROWN
Brown didn't stray far from football after retiring
By Carlos Mendez
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Larry Brown was a 12th-round draft pick who became a good NFL player.
Years later, he has become a good talker, too.
The former Cowboys cornerback is part of ESPN's college football radio coverage, a job he landed thanks to an impressive performance five years ago as a guest on the network's Super Bowl coverage.
"It's easy to talk about something you've done your whole life," he said. "It's not difficult for me. I didn't plan on doing it. It kind of fell in my lap."
This year, the guest spots became a real job for the former TCU cornerback, who played six seasons for the Cowboys and earned MVP honors in Super Bowl XXX against Pittsburgh.
In a sense, the Cowboys' Super Bowl years are what helped Brown find a place in broadcasting.
"I didn't have any formal training, but we had a ton of guys on the team who had shows," Brown said. "Michael Irvin had a show. I'd always go on and appear on their shows. Just by going on their shows, I gained a lot of experience. I didn't realize I was gaining a lot of experience, but I was."
The transition wasn't without its bumps. Brown said he had to learn some broadcast journalism basics, not to mention devoting more time to studying teams across the country.
"You've got to pretty much keep up with everybody, even the teams you're not interested in," he said with a laugh. "Knowing coaches and players and injuries, that was a learning curve for me. And understanding how to ask questions, dealing with people and interviews, that's a lot of learning. It's all opinionated, but you try to back up your argument with facts.
"And hopefully you get proven right."
Brown left the Cowboys after his Super Bowl MVP season, joining the Raiders in free agency. He returned to Dallas in 1998 but retired the next year. Today, he also spends time with Pro Players Inc., an Irving company that helps organize appearances for former players and coordinates fund-raisers with the help of athletes.
"Pro Players does what the NFL Players Association should be doing -- helping guys get organized, get involved in their communities, be active," Brown said. "There are a lot of schools and churches that want players to come out and help with their time and everything else."
In February, Brown will be headed to the Super Bowl again. He has been to 10 in a row, either as a player, fan or broadcaster, he said, and never fails to enjoy it.
"Having the opportunity to go as a fan makes it even more endearing," he said. "When you're playing, you don't even get a chance to see it and enjoy that part of it."
IN THE KNOW
The Larry Brown file
Years with the Cowboys: 1991-95, 1998
Acquired: Drafted 12th round, 1991
Hometown: Los Angeles
Family: Wife, Cheryl; daughters Kristin, 11; Kayla, 6; son Kameron, 4.
Favorite Cowboys moment: "When we went up to Candlestick and beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game [1992 season]. We considered it the game that got us over the hump. It made us believe we were pretty good."