For Chykie Brown, playing in the NFL was a wistful idea on the periphery of reality during his playing days on the youth and high school level. It wasn't until he became a starter at the University of Texas when he was encouraged by defensive backs coach and assistant head coach Duane Akina.
"Once I started playing in college, that's when my coach opened my eyes and said, 'You know, you can play on the next level. I just depends on you and how you work,'" Brown recalled.
Brown proved his former coach right on Saturday when he earned a spot on the Ravens' 53-man roster. The team's first pick in the fifth round of the NFL draft in April, Brown sounded elated over his new future.
"It's a dream come true," he said. "This is what I've been waiting for my whole life. People always said it's hard to make the Ravens squad. So I think I've accomplished something that's big to a lot of people."Brown figures to be the sixth cornerback retained by the team, joining Domonique Foxworth, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams and rookie Jimmy Smith.
Brown may have sealed his candidacy with his performance in the Ravens' 21-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night. He intercepted a wobbling pass by quarterback John Parker Wilson and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter."I'm really happy. Now we just need to win the Super Bowl."
"With my performance, I kind of thought I may have opened my coaches' eyes a lot," Brown said. "But my coaches were saying, 'It doesn't matter if you get picked in the first or fifth round, you can get cut.'"
Having achieved this goal, Brown said his next objective is honing his skills at cornerback and on special teams so that he can be an every-game contributor.
"Get on the field," he said of his next goal. "... I've got to work harder, get in my playbook, make plays, and try to get on the field to help this team win a Super Bowl."