Ravens linebacker Arthur Brown was inactive for the team's first eight games this season.
Ravens linebacker Arthur Brown was inactive for the team's first eight games this season. (Doug Kapustin, For The Baltimore Sun)

The college highlight video starts with rapper DMX shouting lyrics as Arthur Brown delivers a punishing hit to future New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith that sends the former West Virginia star to the ground.

The montage from Brown's time at Kansas State includes the All-American linebacker moving from sideline to sideline to chase down running backs and intercepting and sacking Smith, as well as future Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III when he was a Heisman Trophy winner at Baylor.

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The Ravens traded up to select Brown in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, but the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year's highlight reel has effectively been put on pause at the professional level.

Except for occasional flashes of his playmaking skills during the preseason this year and in spot action as a rookie in nickel packages, Brown has become a forgotten man in the Ravens' defense.

While Brown was a healthy scratch for the entire first half of the season, inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, the Ravens' 2014 first-round pick, has emerged as the team's leading tackler and became a top candidate to be named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Brown finally was active for the Ravens' last two games, but he hasn't recorded any statistics while playing strictly on special teams.

When veteran middle linebacker Daryl Smith got banged up against the Titans and looked like he might need to miss a few plays, undrafted rookie inside linebacker Zach Orr was told to get ready on the sideline instead of Brown.

Despite the rough start to his NFL career, which included being compared to everyone from retired Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David after being drafted, Brown is remaining patient and continuing to work hard as he tries to earn an increased role.

"No doubt, it's a process, and your patience will definitely be tested," Brown said before the Ravens' bye week. "The main goal is to stay focused and keep your eyes on the goal. I just take it one day at a time.

"I'm definitely ready whenever they need me. My confidence is the same as it ever was. It's being tested, it's being tried, but there's an opportunity to grow from all of this."

Quiet with a low-key personality, especially compared to teammates like outspoken outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, Brown's next complaint about his modest status would be his first.

Brown has maintained his competitive nature while toiling in unfamiliar anonymity. The primary headlines attached to Brown this season was when he was briefly linked to trade rumors in September and was assured by the Ravens that he wasn't on the trading block after the team fielded calls about him.

Sources told The Baltimore Sun at the time that the Ravens were reluctant to trade Brown and have him in their future plans.

"I'm a little surprised that Arthur Brown hasn't made more of an impact with the Ravens, but it's early in his career," former Denver Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist said. "He was a physical, downhill guy with speed and an all-around linebacker at Kansas State.

"Some players adjust to the NFL at slower rates than others. I wouldn't give up on him or call him a bust at this point. It's too early to make a judgment call on him when the arrow could still wind up pointing up in the long run."

Brown hasn't stuck out in kick coverage so far, but he does look fast and physical. A week ago, Ravens coach John Harbaugh praised Brown for his work on special teams.

"Arthur Brown has done a great job," Harbaugh said. "He has played really well on special teams. He drew a huge penalty [against the Titans] on the kickoff coverage with his speed. He ran around the double-team, they were chasing him and blocked him right in the back, right in front of the return that backed [them] up inside the 10-yard line."

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It was a rare moment when Brown has been singled out after becoming a fixture on the inactive list for the first eight games. Brown spent the majority of his rookie season working in pass coverage as a nickel linebacker and finished with 15 tackles, a half-sack and a forced fumble in 14 games.

It's a major adjustment for Brown from his high school and college days.

"We bring guys in and expect them to contribute, and C.J. has done a great job," Brown said. "I hope to get to that point one day."

Growing up in Wichita, Kan., Brown was a blue-chip recruit as a Parade Magazine All-American selection. He earned a scholarship to Miami before transferring to Kansas State, where he was a two-time captain who finished with 218 career tackles, three sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

"I played more like an outside linebacker at Kansas State, even though it was middle linebacker, because offenses were spread out," Brown said. "As far as concept and schemes, I'm getting everything down. Last year's experience helped a lot."

Lack of size, as well as the talent of the players at his position, has affected Brown in the NFL.

"I thought Arthur Brown would be tailor-made for the Ravens' defense because nobody got downhill faster or got off blockers with better leverage and attacked better in the Big 12 than him," said ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, a former Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins director of personnel. "That defense is designed so a guy like Arthur should be able to stay as clean as possible as far as having to take on big blockers. He's equipped to shed, get off the blocks and go make a lot of tackles.

"Sometimes, it takes time for a player to develop and mature, and they have a proven veteran guy in Daryl Smith and a gifted rookie in C.J. Mosley. So, they don't really need Arthur right now. I still think his time will come, but right now is not his time."

At 6 feet, 231 pounds, Brown has gained six pounds from his rookie year while maintaining his 4.58 speed in the 40-yard dash.

"I've never considered myself to be small," Brown said. "I've never felt small amongst a group of men. It's about heart. That's what keeps me driving, keeps me moving."

For Brown, adding bulk in the offseason will be key in his future development.

"Right now, gaining weight really isn't a goal of mine," Brown said. "I'm just trying to maintain my weight and not lose any during the season. When the offseason comes, that's when I'll try to put on some more pounds."

"You've got to hold your own down in the trenches. Weight is definitely a key factor in your game, but you want to make sure it's good weight."

The Ravens traded three draft picks to the Seattle Seahawks last year to move up six spots to draft Brown. Signed to a four-year, $3.554 million contract that included a $964,896 signing bonus, Brown is confident that his range and determination will eventually pay off with playing time.

Brown noted that 2011 first-round Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith also got off to a slow start in the NFL and developed into a shutdown cornerback before suffering a season-ending injury.

"I always keep that in mind that some guys went through similar situations," Brown said. "Jimmy Smith sat down with me and was encouraging. I'm taking advantage of my opportunity, and that's playing on special teams. I just need to continue to do my best."

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For now, Mosley and Smith are set as the starters. But Brown could eventually play weakside inside linebacker with Mosley shifting to middle linebacker should the 32-year-old Smith retire or slow down.

"From the coaches' viewpoint, they're always looking at the big picture and keeping the future in perspective," Brown said. "Who knows? Maybe down the road there may be a bigger opportunity for me, so I need to be ready."

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