The April signing of former Baltimore Ravens tackle Orlando Brown Jr to the Kansas City was an incredible upgrade to Kansas City’s offensive line. But it was more personal for the 25-year-old, and the story is as sentimental as it gets.
At age 15, Brown lost his father Orlando Brown Sr unexpectedly to diabetic ketoacidosis. Affectionately nicknamed “Zeus,” the elder Brown played 12 years in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns.
Before passing, Brown Sr preferred his son play left tackle because, as ESPN Adam Teicher wrote, it’s “the glamour position of the offensive line.”
The latest Chiefs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Chiefs newsletter here!
In fact, his dad was so adamant about his son holding said position that he vehemently rejected Brown Jr’s high school football coach’s suggestion he play another role on the offensive line.
Something he made me promise him was that I was going to be a left tackle and that I was going to play in this league for 10-plus years and be a Hall of Famer,” Orlando Jr. said, via Teicher. My dad understood the magnitude of [being a left tackle], often being the captain of the offensive line, often being one of the better players on offense. It was just kind of ingrained in me at a young age and … it was a dream and goal I set for myself in this league.
I grew up with my father playing in this league … as a right tackle. In my household, if you weren’t playing left tackle, I won’t say he disowned you, but he kind of talked back to you. Growing up, my dad would tell me straight up, ‘Hey, study Tony Boselli, watch his game, watch Anthony Munoz, watch all these guys, watch Bryant McKinnie.’ He would tell me, ‘Don’t watch my film.’ Obviously I did because he was my father, but he would tell me, ‘Look at the left tackle.’
Because there wasn’t an opportunity for Brown to play left tackle with the AFC North side, he ultimately took his talents to the midwest, where he knew he could not only play his dream post, but also honor his late dad’s wishes.
Though his father isn’t here physically to watch his son in action, there’s no doubt Brown Jr will carry his legacy with the team that helped make his dream a reality.
Brown on Coming Back to Baltimore
It’ll be a homecoming of sorts for Brown, who returns to Baltimore for the first time since leaving for a primetime showdown with the Ravens. As a Baltimore native and consequently fan of the franchise, he’s looking forward to playing at the venue where he fell in love with football.
“Its where I found my love for the game and watching my dad play and watching the original Ravens and all those guys play. I always get emotional every time I step in there because I see the suite that would sit in when my dad was playing,” Brown said, via Fox 4 KC. “Every time when I was playing there, I would just look up at it because I remember being a kid dreaming about having the opportunity to play in this league and being able to play left tackle in the NFL”
It’ll all come full circle Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. ET when the Chiefs’ new left tackle will be put on the spot to protect quarterback Patrick Mahomes and lead the visitors to a 2-0 record.
Mahomes on His Development With Brown
They’ve only played one regular season game together, but the Mahomes/Brown connection is something to definitely watch out for. Sports Illustrated’s Josh Briscoe asked No. 15 what went right in Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns and Mahomes credited communication as a heavy catalyst.
“To the first part of your question, the communication, I thought we did really, really well especially — we were at home, but it was still loud,” Mahomes said. “Guys got in and out of the huddle, we were able to get the plays, get the checks at the line of scrimmage and do what we needed to do.”
Brown agreed, while adding a few things he’d personally like to work on as well.
“There’s a ton, personally for me, as an individual, to continue working on fundamentally, but me and Pat are always going to communicate, making sure me and him are on the same page, the offensive line is always on the same page and just making sure he’s as comfortable as possible in the heat of the moment.”
Good thing they have the next several months to continue strengthening their bond on and off the turf.