Bengals Owner Mike Brown Gives Cincinnatian a Moment To Remember at Local Workout

University of Cincinnati edge rusher Jowon Briggs was snubbed by the Combine, but his interaction with Bengals owner Mike Brown made up for it.

CINCINNATI – It only seemed fitting that one of the most unique prospects at the Cincinnati Bengals local player workout on Tuesday had the most unique experience.

University of Cincinnati defensive end Jowon Briggs, a married father of three who has performed internationally as a singer and owns a degree in software development, was speaking with a couple of reporters about his hopes and dreams when the interview was interrupted. And not by a coach or a scout or another reporter.

Cincinnati Bengals Owner Mike Brown Stirs Local Draft Hopeful

It was Bengals owner Mike Brown, who wanted to say hello and shake Briggs’ hand.

It was obvious from their conversation that Brown had done his homework on the 6’1”, 310-pound Briggs, who is projected as a seventh-round pick in next week’s NFL Draft, or at the least a preferred undrafted free agent signing.

“We’re glad to have you down here,” Brown said.

Briggs told him it wasn’t the first time. He repeated what he had told the reporters a few minutes earlier, that he grew up in Cincinnati as a Bengals fan and remembers his father, also named Jowon, bringing him to Marvin Lewis’ “Learning is Cool” camps, where he got to run around on the then-Paul Brown Stadium turf and interact with players.

Brown often attends the annual local player workout, but he rarely singles out players for interactions.

Asked what that meant to him to have Brown do that, Briggs’ voice cracked a little bit.

“It means a lot,” he said. “I was a little rattled. I’m trying to keep my composure. He said I was a good student, and I did a lot of singing. For once I was at a loss for words. It’s humbling to see that someone at that level knows me.

“I’ve been here my whole life, coming down to camps and seeing him walk around,” Briggs continued. “It’s the owner. That’s why I was nervous when he was walking up.”

Briggs left his hometown to play on scholarship at the University of Virginia, but after two seasons, he transferred to UC. He was a starter on the 2021 Bearcats team that made the College Football Playoff, and after the 2022 season, he considered declaring for the draft.

But Briggs wasn’t invited to any all-star games or the NFL Combine, so he returned to UC “to try to prove [him]self.”

In his first year against Big 12 competition, he was voted honorable mention all-conference.

Once again, Briggs was snubbed for the Combine and the Senior Bowl, but he did receive an invitation to the Hula Bowl. And he performed so well there he got an expedited offer to the Shrine Bowl in Dallas two weeks later.

“It’s been really important to me to crush the things that I’m doing,” Briggs said. “Crush the Hula Bowl, crush the Shrine Bowl, crush the pro day, crush these interviews, crush this workout. And finally, the work is done.

“We’ll see what happens next week.”

Briggs doesn’t have delusions of hearing his name called in the first round, which is why he plans to take his wife, Nyjae, to dinner that night to celebrate her completing her master’s degree, which will happen earlier that day.

At Tuesday’s 8 a.m. workout, Briggs was running on adrenaline. He had a pre-draft visit with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, and his flight home landed at 12:30 a.m. He didn’t get home and into bed until 1:30 a.m. Then he woke up at 4:30 a.m., made breakfast, and got in the car by 6 a.m. to drive to Paycor Stadium.

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It was rushed, but nothing was going to stop him from another opportunity that ended up being the most meaningful of all.

“Even if I got one hour of sleep, I still would’ve been here,” he said. “It wouldn’t have mattered if I had to come straight from the airport. Any chance you have to get in front of a pro staff and showcase what you can do, it can be a step in your favor.

“I just need to get a toe in the door to carve a place out for myself.”

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