A funny thing happened in the course of Lomas Brown trying to walk back his claim last week that he once intentionally missed a block in order to get his teammate Scott Mitchell injured: Brown says he has discovered that his memory is wrong, and the play on which he purposely missed a block is different than the play on which Mitchell suffered a season-ending injury.
That’s what Brown told Gregg Doyel of CBS: According to Brown, the former Lions left tackle who is now an ESPN commentator, ESPN went through its archives and found the play that ended Mitchell’s season, and it wasn’t the same play that Brown remembered.
After Brown’s boast about purposely getting Mitchell hurt became a hot topic in the NFL this week, someone posted a video on YouTube that appears to show the play that got Mitchell hurt in a loss to the Packers. That play does show Brown lining up at left tackle and turning to the inside, leaving Packers right defensive end Sean Jones alone to rush to the outside and get a free shot at Mitchell. But as the New York Times noted, there’s really no way to know whether Brown was supposed to block Jones on that play and intentionally let him go, or whether the Lions’ pass protection on that play called for Brown to block to the inside.
Brown’s memory of the 1994 game is faulty. He described the Lions as being down 24-3 at the time he missed his block, but the score of that game was never 24-3. Based on the YouTube video, it appears that the score was actually 10-0 when Mitchell was hurt. And Brown’s description of the play suggests that he initially engaged Jones but then let him go, while the video shows Brown turning inside at the snap and never going near Jones.
In any event, whether Mitchell’s injury actually happened on a play on which Brown intentionally missed a block isn’t particularly important. Either (1) Brown tried to injure a teammate and succeeded, or (2) Brown tried to injure a teammate and failed but happened to get his wish because the teammate got injured on another play in the same game. Brown initially claimed option 1 but now claims option 2. Neither of those options reflects well on Brown.
The third option is that Brown fabricated a story about intentionally injuring a teammate because he thought that would be a swell way to get attention. That sounds ridiculous, but considering that Brown makes his living by appearing on ESPN First Take, a show that encourages its panelists to seek attention by making outrageous statements, it’s plausible.
If that’s what happened, and Brown has now discovered that the attention he generated is unwanted, claiming that he wasn’t actually responsible for Mitchell’s injury might be Brown’s way of attempting to minimize the damage to his reputation. But whatever Brown may say now, his reputation has been permanently tarnished.