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20 years later, teammates remember Jerome Brown

jeromebrown Getty Images

Twenty years ago today, Eagles defensive lineman Jerome Brown died in a car accident at the age of 27.

Brown was an excellent player, an All-Pro in his last two seasons and a leader on a Philadelphia defense that was the best in football in 1991. The Philadelphia Daily News has a couple of articles and a photo gallery remembering Brown today, and the best comments come from those who played alongside him.

“Jerome’s persona was bigger than life, but he was bigger than life,” former Eagles linebacker Britt Hager said. “When that guy got into the room, the atmosphere changed.”

Said former Eagles cornerback Eric Allen, “When Jerome passed away, you just felt like, ‘Wow, we’re not invincible! You really can’t predict what our futures are going to be. It’s life and death.’ It took us a long time to understand how to come back and try to fill that friendship void. That was like a brother, not a teammate. It was very difficult for us. Because we were so tight, we tried to keep his great sense of humor alive. Whenever we traveled, we took his locker, his jersey with us. We tried everything we could do to get to the big game for him. But it came down to, we needed him. He was a huge piece of our success.”

And he was gone too soon.

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25 Responses to “20 years later, teammates remember Jerome Brown”
  1. tvguy22 says: Jun 25, 2012 8:54 AM

    Bring it home for Jerome.

  2. greymares says: Jun 25, 2012 9:01 AM

    one of the top 5 Eagles of all time, for me.

  3. jucam1 says: Jun 25, 2012 9:21 AM

    You were taken too young #99!…. An all time Bird!

  4. kevsright says: Jun 25, 2012 9:28 AM

    My God.. It’s been twenty years!
    One of the Eagles all-time greats. Remembering JB…

  5. somekat says: Jun 25, 2012 9:31 AM

    One of the grets I’ve seen, and the best player (including Reggie) on the best defense I’ve ever seen (yes, that includes the Ravens SB defense, monsters of midway, purple people eaters, you name it, gang green was better). Only defense to go #1 across the board. Jerome was literally unblockable

  6. kandh2004 says: Jun 25, 2012 9:31 AM

    I can’t believe it’s 20 years already. Same here, top 5 for me too

  7. joyriderideem says: Jun 25, 2012 9:47 AM

    An all time great…someone I looked up to as a kid…taken to early…in retrospect it makes me think of how fleeting life can be..god bless you JB 99…forever an eagle and …I still think about this tragedy from time to time…

  8. shackdelrio says: Jun 25, 2012 9:53 AM

    He was like the king of Brooksville, Florida. I remember being in that area when the accident happened. There were terrible rainstorms that day. And when everybody heard that he had been killed, it really just sent out a weird aura over the town. It was like nobody wanted to believe it was true.

    RIP Big Jerome

  9. selldannysell says: Jun 25, 2012 9:58 AM

    As a Skins fan, I salute the man for his talent and offer sympathy to those whose lives he’s touched.

  10. mgifford15 says: Jun 25, 2012 10:17 AM

    Just watched the Espn 30 for 30 movie about the u yesterday. Jb was a beast throughout college and the pros. Terribly sad that his life was cut so short. Bring it home for Jerome

  11. joetoronto says: Jun 25, 2012 10:26 AM

    I’ll never forget him, the man was truly special.

    I used to love watching that defense operate.

    Wow, 20 years.

  12. dontouchmyjunk says: Jun 25, 2012 10:31 AM

    Jerome’s was a cautionary tale about living life too recklessly. So much promise cut tragically short by making bad personal decisions.

    Living life on the edge, like Jerome liked to do, can have an enormous cost to yourself and your loved ones.

  13. jebjja says: Jun 25, 2012 10:40 AM

    He was so dominant. He helped guys like Clyde Simmons and Mike Pitts look like they were actually star players because Jerome and Reggie were double teamed every game. What happened when Clyde left via free agency once he got his loot? 4 teams in his last 7 years.

  14. thetooloftools says: Jun 25, 2012 11:23 AM

    I remember when God called him home… it was like the world stood still for a few moments. Nobody liked him, Everyone LOVED him !

  15. kspells12345 says: Jun 25, 2012 11:39 AM

    The 1991 divisional game we played against the Redskins where he played with one arm strapped to his side and still managed 2 sacks was one of the most dominant games by a DT Ive ever seen. I still rock my #99 proudly. Rest in Peace Big Man!

  16. nogoodell says: Jun 25, 2012 11:39 AM

    He was speeding and killed a himself and a kid.. skip the ceremony

  17. joetoronto says: Jun 25, 2012 11:47 AM

    If that Video of Reggie White telling the crowd at the Vet that Jerome had just died doesn’t break you to pieces, you don’t love this great game at all.

  18. mrtwister1 says: Jun 25, 2012 1:09 PM

    I’m a Dolphins/Canes fan but I can tell you JB was the best player UM ever had and also one of the best NFL players

  19. whateverhommie says: Jun 25, 2012 3:07 PM

    I remember that great NFL Films documentary on Reggie White and Jerome Brown. Reggie was really affected by Browns death. I remember shedding a tear watching that old video clip of White announcing to the crowd that Brown had died.

    The two had become really close and Brown had begun to turn his life around. It was a sad and tragic story.

  20. gpete1962 says: Jun 25, 2012 3:28 PM

    Even as a giant fan I’d have to say JB was one of the best DT I’ve ever seen play. RIP

  21. realfootballfan says: Jun 25, 2012 6:35 PM

    Still remember what I was doing when the news came across that he’d died in that car wreck.

    That Eagle defense with him and Reggie White (RIP) leading the charge up front was a joy to watch.

  22. realfootballfan says: Jun 25, 2012 6:40 PM

    dontouchmyjunk,

    What in the world are you talking about, dummy? He was in a car wreck in the middle of the day with his 12 year old nephew in the car with him.

    So unless you’re condemning people who drive in rain storms, which btw happen a lot in Florida especially during the summer time, shut up.

  23. dlightner13 says: Jun 25, 2012 8:28 PM

    Jeez it has been 20 yrs..JB is the reason i became a birds fan when i was just 5. One of the best birds ive ever seen in my time. Bring it home baby

  24. jeromebrown99iggles says: Jun 25, 2012 9:09 PM

    Hands down my favorite player (obvi) and an all time great imo…young players should take heed ..that’s how u play the game.

  25. jianningwu says: Jun 26, 2012 10:33 AM

    @realfootballfan

    I’ve thought about Jerome a lot since his passing and would love to give Jerome the benefit of the doubt, but an Inquirer official report (which, admittedly, was challenged in court) said:

    The investigation of the crash, which happened on the afternoon of June 25, 1992, concluded that “careless” driving by Brown was the cause.

    Brown drove out of the body shop’s parking lot that afternoon and onto Hale Avenue, a picturesque back lane shaded by giant oak trees draped with silver strands of Spanish moss. Two employees – Brown’s friends John Davis and Walter Griffin – told police that they heard the Corvette “quickly accelerate” and then heard the car’s power booster surge on as the car reached second gear.

    Tread marks on the road show that the car crossed the northbound lane on Hale and went into the southbound lane, then abruptly veered back across the northbound lane and onto the grass shoulder. According to the police report, the car hit a small, grassy rise and was catapulted, traveling 22 feet in the air, listing toward the driver’s side, before the left front slammed into a palmetto tree.

    The impact swung the back end of the car counterclockwise until it collided with a telephone pole hard enough to move the pole 15 inches. The car, which had by then flipped upside down, fell to the ground.

    Brown was killed instantly. The autopsy report showed that he died of massive head injuries and also suffered severe internal injuries. His nephew died minutes after the crash, when the pressure of the car pressing his head into his chest suffocated him.

    Brown was a notoriously carefree driver who sometimes gathered employees of Register Chevrolet – the body shop he pulled away from moments before crashing – to watch him spin the fat wheels of his Corvette, dump the clutch and dramatically accelerate out of their back parking lot.

    State investigators appended to their report a computer printout showing 12 separate citations Brown had received for speeding or reckless driving in Florida alone from 1986 until his death.

    ***

    Doesn’t sound fair to just say the accident happen because of a rainstorm.

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