Orlando Brown Jr. signed one of the richest free agent deals in Cincinnati Bengals history this offseason, but it still came with a price, costing the Pro Bowl left tackle a chance at a couple of celebrations players spend their whole careers chasing.
Brown’s former teammates in Kansas City will watch the unfurling of their Super Bowl championship banner tonight before kicking off the NFL season, but Brown will be sitting at home in Cincinnati.
Orlando Brown Jr. Focused on Bringing Title to Cincinnati, Not Reliving One in K.C.
He’ll be watching for sure.
“Yeah, I’m gonna be honest, I watch a lot of football, period, so I will be locked in for that game,” Brown said.
But he won’t get sentimental or reflective.
We've all heard that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Here in Chiefs Kingdom, we sure hope that's the case 🏆 pic.twitter.com/LrOLImFjq9
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 7, 2023
“Not at all. I’m focused on this year,” Brown said. “It’s hard for me to live in the moment with those things because I’m here now. Even if I was there, it would be hard to live in the moment for that, just with it being a whole new year.”
“We’ve got a whole other set of games, a whole other set of goals,” Brown added. “That’s just my mindset, especially being here in Cincinnati now. I’m focused on bringing a Super Bowl to this city.”
Brown or any other player who had moved on to a new team would never consider going back for a ceremony such as tonight’s.
But earlier this offseason, there was a bigger event with more viable logistics. The Chiefs held their ring ceremony in June, and it’s hard to imagine the Bengals wouldn’t have allowed Brown to miss a day of minicamp to go back for that.
He never asked. Never even considered it.
As incredible as Feb. 12 was when the Chiefs beat the Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII, the date circled on Brown’s calendar is Sept. 10, when he will have to contend with one of the best edge rushers in the league in Myles Garrett while trying to protect Joe Burrow and his strained calf.
Brown has faced Garrett often after spending four seasons in the same division as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. In 2021, in his first game with the Chiefs, Brown had to face Garrett again. And Sunday, in his first game with the Bengals, it will be Brown vs. Garrett one more time as Cincinnati tries to avoid a sixth consecutive loss in Cleveland.
“He’s got a very unique set of fundamentals,” Brown said of Garrett. “He’s got crazy athletic ability, alien-like. And he’s got a very high motor, which is one of the reasons he’s one of the most double-teamed players in the NFL. And to still have 16 sacks speaks to all those things I mentioned. With his motor, his athleticism, his setup, he’s a Hall of Fame-level player.”
In Garrett’s first five games against the Ravens when Brown was a starter, he had one sack and 11 pressures.
In the 2021 opener, Brown’s Kansas City debut, Garrett had one sack, eight pressures, five hurries, and two quarterback hits. The Chiefs won the game 33-29, but the sack Brown surrendered still sticks with him.
Kansas City had a 4-point lead and was trying to run out the clock in a four-minute drill. It was 3rd-and-10 at midfield when Garrett beat Brown for a drive-killing snap. The Chiefs defense held on for the win, but Brown held on to the disappointment.
“On the offensive line, a lot of times we’re judged off of those situations,” Brown said. “In a four-minute situation, a two-minute situation, I want to be the guy that steps up and makes those plays. I never want to be the guy to give that up and let down my teammates. I definitely take it personally.”
Sunday will be the first time head-to-head rep the two have had since that play.
“I was brought here to go against the best in the world,” Brown said. “That’s why I play football. That’s what I take pride in, and that’s what I enjoy doing. I don’t prepare for the quote-unquote slouches or anything like that. I always want to play the best guys every single week. And I enjoy it.”
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