When asked what his favorite part of preseason football is, veteran defensive end Alex Brown simply stated:
If only everything else in life could be summed up so nicely.Â When youâ€™ve earned two NFC Defensive Player-of-the-week selections in 2004 and 2005, not to mention a vote for NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, it’s easy to see why Brown’s passion for the game is obvious even in the preseason.
Brown is still a valuable part of the Bears defense after seven years in the league, six with Chicago. The fourth-round pick out of Florida in 2002 has 405 career tackles, 31.5 sacks, 4 interceptions and 9 fumble recoveries.Â His football street cred also includes a top-10 ranking on the team in tackles in every season during the last five (Brian Urlacher is the only other Bear who can boast this) and playing in 95 consecutive games, a team-high.
Last season’s performance wasn’t so bad either. Brown was the only Bear to record an interception, forced fumble, sack and fumble recovery during the season and he finished with a season total of 58 tackles and 4.5 sacks. During my exclusive chat with Brown after Wednesday night’s final Bourbonnais practice, he expressed the desire to take it up a notch.
When asked what he looked forward to during the 2008 season, Brown said, “I want to play well and to play better than what I did last year.” Brown applied the same positive aspirations to his team. “The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl,” Brown said. “First we have to win the division and then the conference and then we can see if we can close the deal from a couple years ago.”
Judging by the 0-2 record and less than impressive showing in the preseason so far, the goal might be harder to obtain than initially thought. The second preseason game against the Seahawks this past weekend showed improvement with the defense, thanks partially to a pass interrupted by Brown during the first quarter of the game. The third preseason opponent is the 49ers, whose starting quarterback former Bears reserve J.T. Oâ€™Sullivan, has moved around more than an army brat, and may be a chance for Brown and the Bears to end a game victoriously.
Once preseason is over, Brown’s pure enjoyment and love “for anything that has to do with football” increases in seriousness as he thinks about what’s in store for the regular season. “First we have to think about Indianapolis, than we have to think about Carolina and so on and so forth.” Once the regular season is in full gear, the goals to clinch the division and a Super Bowl victory become more real. “The ultimate goal is to come back and win the Super Bowl,” Brown said.
For now, Brown sticks to playing football and getting in some playing time with Madden NFL â€˜09 which he plans to purchase after Wednesday night’s practice, with former Packers quarterback Brett Favre gracing the cover (editions of Favre in a Jets jersey also available).
“I’m going to get it tonight and probably play a little of it,” said Brown.Follow paulmbanks