Sometimes we can forget professional athletes are human beings who can have intensely personal conflicts on their mind during a game. That was exactly the case on Sunday for San Diego Chargers rookie Jatavis Brown. Brown, who it was revealed by Ricky Henne for Chargers.com, suited up and took the field mere hours after learning his father had passed away.
Despite a heavy heart, Brown made the start at interior linebacker and played in all 65 defensive snaps of the Chargers’ 33-30 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, finishing with 2 tackles. The 22-year-old got the bad news before the team plane took off for Atlanta and informed only Mike McCoy, telling the head coach he wanted to play to honor his late father.
Brown got his wish, and afterward, the game ball from McCoy, who broke the news in the locker room.
“That was very special to me,” Brown said. “For coach to do that, and then the way my teammates (responded), it was (overwhelming). This is a brotherhood here. I care about every guy here, and I know every guy cares about each other.”
Up to now, it’s been a memorable season for Brown. The fifth-round draft pick from Akron has made four starts and was just awarded Rookie of the Week honors after racking up 14 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble the previous week against the Denver Broncos.
Sadly, this past Sunday was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately, Brown seems to be handling a difficult time well, telling the team web site he knows his father is in a better place.