When wide receiver John Brown hit the free-agent market, he wasn’t seeking a long-term deal. Disappointed about how the previous two seasons had gone, Brown was interested in going somewhere on a one-year pact and proving worthy of a lucrative and long-term commitment.
He felt the Ravens were the perfect fit.
“I’m just really excited to be here,” Brown said at a Friday morning news conference at the Under Armour Performance Center. “Just thinking about going through free agency and everything that I had going on, I felt like this was the best fit for me. Just looking at the past few years with the Ravens – even way before my time – they like to use a lot of receivers with speed. I feel like I can come in and help this team.”
Brown, 27, agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with the Ravens, who continue to retool their wide receiver corps.
“The thing about John is, he can take the top off of the defense,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “A lot of times when you go with a vertical receiver, they have a very limited route tree. John does not. John can run every route in the route tree. I think that’s going to be important for us as the type of weapon that he’ll be used. The other aspect of this that attracted John to us is that we feel like his best football is still in front of him, that he will continue to get better and we will be the beneficiary of that.”
A third-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2014 out of Pittsburg State, Brown emerged as one of the top deep threats in the NFL in his second season. He caught 65 passes for 1,003 yards and seven touchdown receptions in 15 games.
However, his numbers dropped significantly over the past two seasons. In 2016, he had just 39 catches for 517 yards and two touchdown receptions while playing in 15 games. Last year, he battled myriad injuries and had played in just 10 games, catching 21 balls for 299 yards and three touchdown receptions.
Brown said that he feels healthy and downplayed the impact that having the sickle cell trait has had on his career.
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“I'm feeling good,” he said. “Sickle cell was never part of the problem. It was something that we couldn't decide on what they could find so we just used it as sickle cell until we found out I had a cyst on my spine. I'm fine, I'm healthy and I can handle the situation.”