Former Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown said his unhappiness with his role in the team’s offense led him to seek a trade this offseason.
Brown, who was dealt to the Cardinals on Thursday along with a fourth-round draft pick for Arizona’s No. 23 overall pick, said on the “I Am Athlete” podcast Friday that he’d spoken with quarterback Lamar Jackson and explained his decision. Jackson had expressed his dissatisfaction with the trade on Twitter when it was announced Thursday during the first round of the NFL draft, in which the Ravens picked Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton with the 14th overall pick and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum at No. 25.
“I let him know again [toward the end of last season], like, ‘Yeah, bro, I can’t do it,’” Brown said. “And it’s not really on Lamar. Like, I love Lamar. It was just, the system wasn’t for me, personally. I love all my teammates, I love the guys, but it was just something I had to think about for myself. The Ravens — we both handled it the right way. I didn’t go out and make anything public. I just kept it in-house, kept working and, you know, it all worked out.”
Brown, a former first-round pick, led all Ravens wide receivers last year with 91 catches for 1,008 yards. Over his first eight games, before Jackson started to struggle with his execution, illness and injuries, Brown had 46 catches for 682 yards and six scores in a more balanced but still run-heavy Ravens offense.
But Brown said he felt that, for stretches of his career in Baltimore, “I wasn’t put in the best situations.” Brown was targeted 146 times in 16 games last season, the third most in Ravens history and 10th among NFL players in 2021. While the former Oklahoma star finished with more receiving yards when the Ravens were trailing (484 yards and three touchdowns) than when they were leading (283 yards, one touchdown) or tied (241 yards, two touchdowns), his effectiveness dipped. According to Pro Football Reference, Brown caught just 57.7% of his targets for 6.8 yards per target. When leading, he caught 68.4% of his targets for 7.4 yards per target.
“I’ll get to the playoffs, they use me how I’m supposed to be used, I go for 100-yard games,” Brown said. “And then I’m like, ‘OK, this should lead on,’ Then I go to games where we’re losing, they wait until, like, the third or the fourth [quarter] to start getting me the ball, I help the team win. Then I go to the following game and not get the ball. So it was just one of those things like, as a mind thing, I’m too much of a competitor to not get the ball till the fourth. I’m too much of a competitor to not help my team until we’re down and out. And then it’s like, ‘All right, here we go.’”
Brown, who will reunite with former Oklahoma teammate Kyler Murray in Arizona, said his trade didn’t reflect a lack of belief in Jackson, one of his closest friends.
“Even to this today, I know the Ravens, they’re going to be where they need to be because of Lamar Jackson,” he said. “So it was one of those things that, like, I felt like they didn’t need me. ... With the scheme that they run, they’re going to be in a good situation regardless. So it was one of those things that I just wanted to get to a situation where I could be happy and that I could contribute the way I know I can.”