INDIANAPOLIS — Once a Hatfield, Sergio Brown now finds himself a McCoy. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
At the tender age of 24, the Indianapolis Colts special teams performer and backup strong safety already knows what it’s like to stand on both sides of one of the NFL’s most bitter rivalries.
The Illinois native spent his first two seasons as a member of the New England Patriots before the team waived him. Brown was picked up by the Colts the following day, which meant all of eight days to acclimate himself with new teammates, coaches and surroundings before the team’s Sept. 9 opener at Chicago.
Contrary to popular belief, there were, according to Brown, no long goodbyes.
“As soon as it happens, you switch sides. You have a little taste of bitter (toward the team releasing you) when it happens,” Brown said. “You’re not working there anymore. A different person is signing the checks now.”
The NFL is a business. Brown’s livelihood. He’ll go where he’s wanted, bust his tail for the franchise making the effort to bring him in and hope for the best. Brown is a Colt now. True blue.
After tallying 11 tackles as a Patriots rookie in 2010 and 37 last season, the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder as a Colt has taken part in all 14 games, with nine tackles to show for it.
His finest game to date in Indianapolis came in a 30-27 upset of Green Bay on Oct. 7.
Brown finished with three tackles and a deflection of one of the passes thrown by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“I’m contributing a lot on special teams right now,” said Brown, who also spells starting strong safety and fellow Notre Dame alum Tom Zbikowski. “I would like to be playing defense more, but it’s whatever you can do to help your team and being proud of that.”
There’s no shortage of pride in Brown’s voice when he speaks of his alma mater. The top-ranked Fighting Irish are preparing to play No. 2 and defending titlist Alabama in the BCS Championship Game on Jan. 7 in Miami.
Brown exited South Bend not long after former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, who was fired shortly after completion of the 2009 season. Thus, Brown, who became a starter in the Irish defensive secondary midway through his junior season, never played for current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.
To him, though, Notre Dame is Notre Dame. Brown bleeds green and will proudly be cheering on the Irish.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to go down there and see the game. I can’t wait to watch it,” said Brown, who as a senior at Proviso East High School near Chicago chose Notre Dame over LSU and Illinois. “I hear all the time about Alabama, but I guess we’ll find out. I’m pretty confident.”