RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Brandon Browner is back with the Seattle Seahawks, wearing the same number as in the past, but playing a different position than when he became a founding member of the secondary known as the “Legion of Boom.”
He’s still a defensive back. But in this stint with Seattle, Browner has become a hybrid between a safety, a cornerback and a linebacker.
“His attitude is terrific about it,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s playing safety is what he’s doing, and we’re moving him around and doing some different stuff. It gives us a real special player with unique qualities, which we always love.”
The position switch is more in line with what Browner played during his one season in New England, where he won a Super Bowl title by helping ruin Seattle’s chances at back-to-back championships. Browner was an integral part of the decisive play during which Russell Wilson was intercepted by Malcolm Butler in the end zone. It was Browner’s ability to jam Jermaine Kearse at the line of scrimmage that gave Butler a clear path to break on the throw.
“That’s a touchy subject,” Browner said with a laugh. “I try and leave that one alone.”
What Seattle is thinking with Browner is to use his size and strength closer to the line of scrimmage. Instead of playing out on an island as a cornerback, the Seahawks are having Browner learn the responsibilities of a safety with the idea that he could defend tight ends and help in the run game.
It is an experiment that might not work. But Seattle believes it’s the best way to maximize Browner’s skills at this point in his career.
“Things are a little different,” Browner said. “You’re a football player. I think playing (cornerback) it’s more of a one-on-one thing. We’re playing basketball out there on an island. When you’re in the box, it’s football.”
Browner spent last season with New Orleans, an experience he chose not to talk about Thursday. Browner appeared in all 16 games but struggled with the Saints.
Seattle is hoping to tap into some of his experience with the Patriots. Browner’s greatest success during his career came in Seattle, although it was tarnished by suspensions during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Browner was a spectator due to the second suspension when Seattle won its first title by beating Denver.
Browner said he had an option to join Washington this offseason, but the opportunity in Seattle was a “no-brainer.”
“I’ll be matched up on guys that fit my size. It will show my skill set a little bit, I guess,” Browner said.
Carroll is already getting excited about the versatility Seattle will have in the secondary. Unlike the 2015 offseason, starters Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Jeremy Lane and Earl Thomas are healthy and not recovering from injuries. And Browner and players like Tharold Simon and Kelcie McCray have Carroll envisioning the depth Seattle may ultimately have at the back of its defense.
“This is really as strong as I’ve felt we’ve gone into this portion of the year (at defensive back) with the versatility and the competition is really going to be on. … It does give us choices matchup-wise if it all stays somewhat the same. That’s a real positive,” Carroll said.
Notes: Carroll said RB Thomas Rawls (ankle) and TE Jimmy Graham (knee) are ahead of schedule in their recoveries. Rawls is further along and will be eased into the start of training camp. Graham and Rawls were on the field as spectators Thursday. … LT Garry Gilliam had a cyst removed from his knee this week and is likely to be out a couple of weeks.
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