Jeremy Brown Thrilled Just to Practice

Every player will tell you that they love being on the field, even if it's just a practice. That's where they are most comfortable and that's where they love to be. And they mean it. Just about all athletes are happiest when they are playing the game they love and Gators should be no different.

But Wednesday took that attitude to a whole new level for one Gator in particular. Jeremy Brown was finally able to take to the practice field after back injuries not only took him not only off the practice field but left him bedridden for much of his first year in Gainesville.

Brown was a highly regarded corner from Orlando Boone last year and teamed with Janoris Jenkins to give the Gators the top tandem of corner recruits in the country in the 2008 recruiting class. In fact while Jenkins might have been the best rookie corner in the country last season, Brown was ahead of him before a disc problem ended his first campaign in Orange and Blue.

After being idle for so long, Brown says it's hard to express how much Wednesday's practice meant to him.

"Man it was, whoa, it was just… it was of the best times I've had in a long time. Being hurt was just frustrating, and the pain that I was in was really tough. At times I couldn't sleep because of the pain I was in, but it really felt good to be out here as part of the team and make some plays."

Brown says the problems in his back were more complicated than just the matter of a bulging disc.

"It started out as a disc problem but then after the disc had healed up (I had problems) with tendons and muscles and joints. It was just a real bad deal. There was times when I couldn't even put on my shoes."

I asked Brown how he was able to keep going to maintain a positive attitude throughout the ordeal.

"I used determination and really relied on my faith in God. It was a very humbling experience. I used the time to study the game a little bit more and it helped me get through all this stuff. (I also had) the support of my teammates and coaches and they're the ones who helped pull be through."

But now Jeremy Brown cleared to go and he says Wednesday's practice was the best he's felt on over a year.

"Today is the first day since last spring that I felt like myself. I was able to move, backpedal and twist without pain throughout my body."

Brown wasn't the only one that was excited that he was out on the practice field. Junior corner Joe Haden was equally pumped up about a teammate he has a special relationship with.

"Coaches give us a little brother and that's my little brother on the team. It was great just having him back out there with the team. He loves the game and he works really hard. When he's healthy he's going to be out there playing for us. He definitely has the talent to help us. Like Coach Meyer said, he was ahead of Janoris before he got hurt, so the best corner on the team might not have been playing."

It's hard to see Brown being a better player than Jenkins or Haden anytime soon, but it will be interesting to see just how good he can be after a healthy summer of lifting and conditioning. It would appear one of the Gators deepest and most talented positions could be even deeper in 2009.

And here is a little look at Jeremy talking to reporters after practice on Wednesday.

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