Ronnie Brown says he’s not a normal 30-year-old running back

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Few NFL running backs are in the mood to throw a party on their 30th birthdays, because that’s the magic number at which we start referring to running backs as old. But Ronnie Brown, the 30-year-old running back who just signed with the Chargers, says he has the body of a younger man.

According to Brown, the fact that he’s never been a workhorse back is a blessing, and it means he’s fresh and ready to play for a few more years.

“It’s kind of weird,” Brown told U-T San Diego. “I guess when you turn 30, people just automatically look and be like, ‘He’s old.’ But when I look at the situation, I’d probably take four or five years away given the fact that I’ve never had to really carry the load, whether it was Auburn or Miami. I’ve been one of those guys that’s split time.”

Brown is right: At Auburn he split carries with Cadillac Williams and never had more than 175 carries in a season. In the NFL, even when he was a starter with the Dolphins, he split carries with Ricky Williams and never had more than 241 carries in a season. He’s never had one of those backbreaking seasons in which he averaged 20 or 25 carries a game.

Still: Brown is, in fact, 30 years old. And over the last three seasons his average yards per carry has trended downward, from 4.4 in 2009 to 3.7 in 2010 to 3.2 in 2011. And although Brown was healthy enough to play all 16 games for the Eagles last season, he had career lows in carries (42), yards (136) and touchdowns (1).

So Brown may have taken less of a beating over the course of his career than most 30-year-old running backs, but that doesn’t mean he’s any closer to his prime than most 30-year-old running backs. If Brown regains his top form in San Diego, it would be a big surprise.

14 responses to “Ronnie Brown says he’s not a normal 30-year-old running back

  1. Given his decision making on that goal line play for the Eagles last year, I must agree!

  2. Yeah, he’s a 30 year old RB who has had multiple knee injuries. I watched him play for the Eagles last season and this guy is done. His ability to cut is all but gone and he has no burst. I would not be surprised if he is cut by the Chargers before the end of camp.

  3. Ronnie can be can be an explosive physical punished with the football if he is in shape. That’s the key for him. For years in Miami he averaged over 4 yards a carry. He has good vision and is a good one cut runner. I don’t think he has been given the opportunity to be the work horse. Look at some of his highlights and you tell me if u would want to get in his way. Like I said, get him in shape and look out!!!

  4. So what your saying is you have never been a quality back thats why you feel fresh. Fresh so once again u can share touches.

  5. “Yeah he’s not a “normal RB ” he’s a RB who tries to throw the football near the end zone …”
    That play was actually meant for the RB to throw out of the backfield but defense shut it down and he should not have tried to throw it. But I would put more of the blame on the Eagles’ pathetic play call at the goal line!!!

  6. seano13, it has nothing to do with “football shape”. The guy has had multiple season ending knee injuries and can’t play at a high level anymore as a result. The Chargers are kicking the tires on him by bringing him to camp but like I said, he’ll likely be cut in favor of a young guy as he isn’t a good blocker, can’t play special teams, and is no longer a good runner.

  7. newyorkfootballjets says: Jun 12, 2012 10:18 AM
    So what your saying is you have never been a quality back thats why you feel fresh. Fresh so once again u can share touches.
    Being in a running back committee has no bearing on the quality of a player, especially if your offense is based off the run, like Brown’s was in Miami. It’s simply the way the game is evolving. If being your team’s featured workhorse RB in a run-first offense is the only mark of quality at the position, then Marshawn Lynch and Trent Richardson must be the two most talented backs in the league.
    (And yes, I know Cleveland is supposedly runs a West Coast system, but Richardson will be the focal point of the offense this year)

  8. I think/hope he can really have a decent year because he was never really relied on or used correctly in philly and his lsat year in miami people caught on to the wild cat. I’d predict 400 yards and 4tds with some good blocking and receiving skills this year.

  9. Ronnie was always the second best back on that team. Ricky was better, even in his last year there.

    In fact, if it wasn’t for the wildcat, I don’t think he would have been with the Dolphins that long. A lot of his higher yards per carry years were skewed by the wildcat.

    Furthermore, he’s never had breakaway speed. He got caught from behind a lot. But Ricky, even at an advanced age had another gear when he got past the second level.

    Good luck Ronnie. The wildcat was a fun diversion, but I’m happy you are gone.

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