Arthur Brown

Arthur Brown (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun / August 10, 2013)

The uplifting sounds of gospel music provide Ravens rookie inside linebacker Arthur Brown a release from the grind of football.

The second-round draft pick from Kansas State is bespectacled and soft-spoken, cultivating a professorial look off the field as he frequently wears a tie, slacks and dress shoes. During his spare time, the 23-year-old can be found playing the piano or whipping up his favorite meal of salmon and sweet potatoes.

Brown's personality away from the game, though, is a contrast to his aggressive nature on the field.

"If you don't know Arthur and see him on the field, you would think he's an absolute maniac," said Ravens rookie outside linebacker Meshak Williams, Brown's former Kansas State teammate. "Arthur is a good person, very spiritual and one of the best friends I ever had. When he plays football, he just changes his personality. He flies around and brings an intensity to the whole defense."

As much as Brown expresses his love for football, where he embraces contact and delivers punishing hits, he has found a way to strike a balance between the sport and other parts of his life.

"I love music and I love to sing out loud," Brown said. "Really just speaking to gospel, it's the content of what's being spoken. It's all about my faith. It gives me inspiration, it gives me peace.

"There's a time to relax and unwind, and there's a time to play football. I'm somebody that's very instinctive out there. I may not show it off the field, but I definitely have a lot of passion for the game."

At a compact 6 feet, 235 pounds, Brown plays with outstanding leverage and uncoils his body to create punishing impacts.

A resounding shoulder blow from Brown recently sent Ravens rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk reeling off his feet into the backfield during an isolation play.

"Arthur understands the mentality he needs to have when he's playing on the field," said Arthur Brown, Brown's father. "He's able to turn that off and on at the perfect time. He's always been very reserved until you get to know him and then he'll open up. He's like a gentle giant. He has a real free heart, a gentle spirit, but he can be pretty aggressive in any competitive situation."

Growing up in Wichita, Kan., Brown played on a travel football team in the eighth grade.

He once delivered a tackle so fierce that he injured an older opposing running back. The incident frightened Brown's mother enough that she initially wanted him to stop playing.

"Arthur ended up hurting one of the kids, and it was a situation that literally scared my wife," Brown's father said. "She threatened to make him quit. Even in elementary school, he was always a lot bigger than the kids his age. He was always very, very strong. He always knew he wanted to play football and had a relentless work ethic."

Brown was a Parade Magazine All-America selection in high school at Wichita East. Both he and his brother, Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce Brown, were blue-chip recruits who garnered scholarship offers from virtually every top program in the nation.

When Brown chose Miami, it was his first extended time away from home. It marks the only time in his football career he hasn't thrived. In two seasons for the Hurricanes, Brown didn't earn a starting job. He ultimately transferred to Kansas State to be closer to home, redshirting for a season under NCAA transfer rules.

"The choice to transfer was spearheaded by his father," said Brian Butler, the Brown brothers' longtime mentor and personal coach. "Sometimes in college, if you're an out-of-state player and they have strong in-state players, you can get caught up in politics. It was hard to get Arthur to leave Miami because Arthur's not a quitter.

"It wasn't just about football. It was much different for him socially. He was used to growing up with people with the same set of values and habits. Miami is a very fast-paced place."

At Kansas State, Brown's parents became a fixture at practices and games. And he liked the structure and discipline provided by Kansas State coach Bill Snyder.

"The distance from my parents was tough on me at Miami," Brown said. "It was a different situation. Fortunately, I made the decision to go back home and it worked out great."

In two seasons at Kansas State, Brown was a two-time captain who contributed 201 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions. Last season, he was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.