THEN AND NOW Former linebacker made strike of '82 work for him By RICK HERRIN Star-Telegram Staff Writer The NFL strike of 1982 and The Catch helped change Guy Brown's future. Brown, a Cowboys linebacker from 1977-82, had the chance to build his life-after-football career while sitting out the 57 days and eight canceled games that shortened the season. Brown was interested in fire safety and expanded his involvement in the industry during the strike. He first started looking into a new future after the 1981 NFC Championship loss to San Francisco, which came thanks to Dwight Clark's miraculous touchdown catch. But getting a start on making it a full-time job also came sooner than expected. A neck injury forced Brown out of football after the 1982 season and into private business in Dallas. Brown is president of Great Southwestern Fire and Safety, which is a supplier of fire safety products to various markets. What made you leap into a career in fire protection without any background? I kind of credit The Catch for getting me into fire protection. I came home dejected, and a friend of mine called the next day excited about something he was looking at. It was a fire extinguisher. And it was fascinating. He did a demonstration and it worked like magic. How difficult was it to retire the year after you became a starter? I was playing and I was really looking forward to it. I saw a new life for me in football. It was disappointing at the time. But I am a realist and it was the reality. I needed to trust God to lead me in a new direction. What is the one play you remember most? I hit [Steelers running back] Franco Harris and my face mask, it just flattened. It was a perfect form tackle. He was my hero. I really respected him and he was one of my favorites, but that was before I became a Cowboy. That was kind of tough considering he was a Steeler. [Equipment manager] Buck Buchanan changed it out and said he had never seen that before. How tough was it to lose three consecutive NFC Championship games from 1980-82? It was greatly disappointing. No question about it. Again, it's reality. You can't change anything. You can only do something in the future to change it. The San Francisco game was a really tough one. That was probably the most dejected experience. What has it been like to watch your wife Jackie, diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, improve so drastically after brain surgery? It was a miraculous turnaround. It was God using the hands of a surgeon to take the pain of seven years. She never has that pain today. She has even asked to come back to work. She is physically being relieved. IN THE KNOW Guy Brown Position: Linebacker Career: Cowboys, 1977-82 Highlights: Starter at outside linebacker on 1982 team which lost in the NFC Championship to Washington 31-17. ... Started six games behind Mike Hegman in 1981. ... Fourth-round draft pick out of Houston in 1977. Age: 50 Residence: Duncanville Occupation: President of Great Southwestern Fire and Safety in Dallas. Family: wife Jackie; daughters Christa Sanford (26); Tiffany Anderson (24); grand daughter [cq]Miah (1). Notable: Retired after 1982 season because of neck injury. ... Played at Houston with former Cowboys running back Alois Blackwell . ... Formed Guy Brown Fire and Safety Inc. in 1982 . ... Company honored as TXU Gold Star Supplier . ... Former winner of Quest For Success Award sponsored by Dallas businesses . ... Graduated from Palestine.