Profile: Thomas Brown School: Georgia
Ht: 5-8 Wt: 20440: 4.50e
Thompson: You've got a great reputation as being a very tough and powerful runner. You certainly don't shy away from contact out there, do you?
Brown: Not at all. That's why I love the game of football. I love the contact of it. I started playing when I was eight years old and my mom didn't want me to play because she was scared that I was too small and was going to get hurt. She let me go out and play and said the first time I got hit I was going to come home crying and get sore. I got hit that first time and I didn't get upset.
Thompson: I've got a lot of respect for the way you handle yourself as a pass-blocker as well. You mention your size and there are not a lot of guys out there who I think can block as well against the pass and the kind of competition you've had to deal with. Talk about the attention you've paid to that part of your game over the years.
Brown: It was something I had to grow into. Being a pass-blocker is not a natural thing to do, but being in Georgia and understanding the system we were in, you had to learn how to pass-block and take practice week in and week out and getting used to it. In my opinion, pass-blocking has the mentality that you always have to be the bigger guy, but I'm a prime example that it's more about leverage and attitude.
Georgia running back Thomas Brown breaks free for a 38-yard touchdown against Mississippi in 2007.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images/Getty Images
Thompson: You certainly had a lot of highs in your collegiate career, and you also had to battle through a few lows on the injury side. Talk about the whole experience as you look back on it.
Brown: It went by so fast. I can remember my first game coming in as a tailback and having seven running backs on scholarship. I came in at number seven and had to work my way up to a starting position. It's been an up and down struggle like you said. I've had some top moments and some lows with the two issues I faced by tearing my ACL and smashing my collarbone. But I was just thankful for the opportunity I had to play for Georgia.
Thompson: You've certainly done a tremendous job coming back from those injuries. After your broken collar bone you came back for the last four games and even put up a 150 yd rushing effort against Georgia Tech. Do you have any lingering effects from those injuries or are you 100 percent and ready to show everyone what you've got?
Brown: Definitely I'm 100 percent. That's one of the things I want people to focus on, the way I came back from those injuries. I tore my ACL, did the rehab, and six months later I came back and started the next season. I fractured my collar bone and missed three to four weeks and came back and finished with a strong four games. I'm just queued up and ready to go, and I'm excited about the opportunity coming up.
Thompson: It's very impressive that you came back from an ACL injury and rushed for over 800 yards, scored ten touchdowns, and put up 22.2 yards on kickoff returns. Talk about that exciting game against Old Miss where you had 180 yards and three touchdowns.
Brown: Man, it was a great rush. It started off a little bit slow, because Old Miss is always a tough opponent for us as everybody in the ACC is for us. We found some things that were working for us and I was able to get behind those big boys up front who were making holes for me. And when I got in the secondary I was able to take advantage of that and make guys miss 1-on-1 and get us in position for a touchdown.
Thompson: Your kickoff return ability is certainly another thing teams have to be noticing. What do you remember about your 99-yard kickoff return?
Brown: That was probably the most exciting play I've ever had in football my entire life. It went by so quickly and my adrenaline was pumping. It was an important part of the game and I think I blacked out before the play even started because I was so focused. I must have just woken up in the end zone. It was a very electrifying play. One of the things I pride myself on is being able to be a running back and a kick returner as well.
Thomas Brown celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the 2007 Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Thompson: After the spring drills in '05 and '06 you won the Most Consistent Running Back Award. What message do you think that sends to NFL clubs?
Brown: I think it shows them that I'm the kind of player who will be consistent and will never be content with where I am, that I'm always working to be the best I can be because I know that's what it takes to be successful.
Thompson: Who are some of the teams that took some time to talk to you during the East-West Shrine Game?
Brown: I talked Tampa Bay, the Falcons, the Seahawks,
Carolina Panthers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts, the Patriots, the
Cleveland Browns, the Raiders and the Dolphins. There were a number of
teams I talked to, but you never know, and you never really have a clear
indication of who wants you the most until they actually draft you.
Thompson: You carried seven classes this fall so you could graduate in three and a half years. Why did you put that kind of pressure on yourself during your final football season?
Brown: Well, it's very important to me, especially with the opportunity to come to a major university like the University of Georgia and get a free education. Education is a very important part of my family. Both my mother and father received their master's degree and my sister has gotten her master's and is going for her doctorate. That's one of the things I wanted to accomplish when coming to Georgia.
Thompson: If a coach or GM says, "Thomas Brown, tell us why we should pick you and put you on our team." What's your answer?
Brown: I'd certainly tell him that I bring leadership to the team. I've been voted team captain twice in Georgia and even in the East-West Shrine Game where it was only a week, even those guys down there voted me a team captain. I'm a guy that has consistent ability, come every day to work at practice, play hard at the games, and provide explosive plays on offense.