Les Brown: An Unlikely Path to the NFL

Les Brown Highland High School

Les Brown has come a long way from his days as an All-State WR at Highland High School.

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

Throughout all of our lives, at some point we ask, “what if?”

What if I had picked a different college? What if I didn’t blow it with that one relationship? What if I hadn’t said that one thing or done that one thing differently?

Most of us never get the opportunity to answer that question.

Les Brown does.

After choosing basketball out of high school, rather than football, Les, 24, now has the chance to rekindle that urge to put the pads back on due to some freak athleticism he showed on March 29th at the BYU Pro Day.

Brown ran a 4.44 40 while adding a 39-inch vertical jump and a 10-3 broad jump at 6-4 238 pounds.

After his impressive workout, NFL scouts were interviewing him with the idea of playing him at tight end. Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated tweeted out that the Chiefs, Jaguars, Patriots and Raiders were among the teams interviewing him.

Now, we’ve all heard the story of the basketball player turned NFL tight end before. It’s actually become a kind of cliche. This isn’t your typical story though.

Brown’s football skills aren’t coming out of nowhere. He was a wide receiver at Highland High School in Salt Lake City, which also produced All-Pro DT/DE Haloti Ngata. Les led the state in receptions his junior season while picking up all-state honors. Due to being a self described “late bloomer” and measuring it at 6-4 185 in high school, Brown chose basketball despite having offers from BYU, Oregon, Washington State, Colorado State and more in football.

“Basketball kind of seemed like the logical pick at that point in time. It was an opportunity where I could stay close to home. I’m the oldest of five kids and my dad, he travels a lot for work, my mom was pretty sick at the time, so it was a good opportunity for me to stay close to home and take watch over my brothers and sister and also do something that I love and that’s play basketball,” said Brown.

Les went on to play small forward for NAIA Westminster College. After starting 34 of Westminster’s 35 games his junior season as a defensive specialist averaging 2.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and .4 blocks per game, Brown walked away from basketball to take a full time position for Huntsman Gay Global Capital before the 2009-2010 season.

“I kind of weighed my options, and I thought I was just making the big boy, grown up decision, ‘You’re not gonna play in the NBA, you’re not 6-10, you play small forward, at 6-4 you’d have to play point guard,’ I’m not a point guard. I just moved onto the next step as far as my life,” said Brown.

After working two years in the accounting department, Brown got the athletic itch once again. He first began to scratch that itch simply going to the gym to stay in shape and build his strength. Once he started getting bigger, some influence from his brothers didn’t hurt.

Two of Brown’s brothers are current players on BYU’s football team. Braden was the team’s starting right tackle as a junior this past season, while Trevor was a freshman tight end.

“Having a couple of younger brothers that play college football and watching them play and seeing them develop and having success in football I started to think, ‘My brothers are successful at this, and I know that I’m a better athlete than them.’ I’ve got that older brother stigma where I can’t let my younger brothers show me up. I really started to push hard for it.”

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5 Responses to “Les Brown: An Unlikely Path to the NFL”

  1. Me says:

    Gained 40 lbs of muscle in 3 months?

    He’s on steroids.

  2. Laura Bailey says:

    Les Brown V, yes, he has impressed us all with his physical feats from all his hard work. He also is smart, handsome, charming…

    Les, isn’t kidding, that ONE team, Will be the Smartest. That kid has something he wants to do. Competition, runs through his veins. He is the oldest of 5, with 3 brothers to lead.

    We all have marveled at his hard work to get his chance.
    He has just started, his story is an inspiration to others.

    Thankyou, this is an awesome, well written & fair article.

    Uncle Tracey & I have shared this page to many, we are so proud of him.

    As the kids would say, “To Legit to quit”

    We say ” He is the REAL deal” It is ALL on him. It’s good.

  3. Arlene Brown says:

    This grandmother, adores Les and is so proud of him and his accomplishments. He has such a graet heart. Any team will be proud to have him contribute to their football accomplishments also. He comes from a very strong work ethic family.
    Les and his siblings and parents are a wonderful, loving, very athletic busy family.
    A big hug to you. Grandma B.

  4. Betsy Hurty says:

    So happy for them

  5. Betsy Hurty says:

    I have watched Les play since 9th grade, he is a late bloomer with alot of drive and support. Great Kid,great family

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