Growing up, former safety and Texas native Stevie Brown wanted to emulate one person.
“I liked how [Charles Woodson] played both sides of the ball because [when I was younger] I was playing both sides of the ball,” Brown told Prime Time Sports Talk.”He did that so well in college that it was something I looked up to.”
As a young boy, Brown took to the game of football immediately. When his older brother played, he would run up and down the sidelines following him and his team as the game went on.
Brown began playing organized ball at nine years old positioned mostly at running back and linebacker.
Though born in Dallas, his family moved to Indiana when Brown was just a toddler. Brown attended Columbus East High School in Indiana and continued to be quite the talent on the field. He was voted an all-state athlete in his junior and senior years at Columbus.
When it came time to pick colleges, he knew immediately where he wanted to go and the reason behind it.
“I grew up loving Michigan,” Brown said. “One of my fondest memories is watching Charles Woodson walk with a rose in his mouth after they beat Ohio State [in the 1997 Rose Bowl], so whenever Michigan came and recruited me, it was pretty hard to say no.”
His 2009 senior season as a Wolverine would be his best. As a hybrid linebacker/safety, he totaled a team best 80 tackles and recorded nine each in four different conference games against Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
Knowing he couldn’t play the hybrid game, he focused solely on becoming exclusively a safety in the NFL. A process that at first he was uneasy with.
“I had to go back and show everybody that I could still a safety/DB, do everything like that,” Brown said. “That was the part that I worried about the most when I was getting ready [for the draft].”
Unfortunately the draft class was riddled with elite safety talent. With names like Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Morgan Burnett, and T.J. Ward, it was going to be an uphill battle to stand out above the rest.
The rounds came and went with Brown anxiously waiting for his turn.
“[I was getting nervous] a little bit,” Brown said. “Because you get calls at the most random times [during the draft] and they’ll tell you that they’re looking at drafting you at this position and then it comes up and they call somebody else and it goes across the ticker, it wasn’t like I wasn’t getting any calls, teams just weren’t pulling the trigger.”
His phone finally rang with the call he was waiting for. With pick No.251, the Oakland Raiders selected him with only four selections after him remaining. Because of the shock and overwhelming excitement, Brown had forgot that he was drafted by the same team that took his idol Woodson.
“I didn’t think of it when it first happened I really just thought ‘I can’t believe I just got drafted into the NFL,'” Brown said.”When it all settled in and I realized I was going to Oakland, it did take me back to those bad boy Oakland Raider days and all that type of stuff that they had goin’ on out there.”
Brown’s time in Oakland was short as he was released by the team and went through two short stints with the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers before finding comfort with the New York Giants.
In his first year playing in the “Big Apple,” Brown set the team single season interception return yards record with 307 which was good for fourth best all-time. In addition he recorded eight picks and 66 total tackles.
“It was really just all about opportunity,” Brown said. “When I was in Oakland there were two great safeties that were out there in Tyvon [Branch] and Michael Huff and then in [Indianapolis] they had Antoine Bethea, then in New York it was the same thing with Kenny [Phillips] and Antrel [Rolle], unfortunately Kenny got injured and I had to come in and play and just took advantage of the opportunity.”
His best performance came against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Brown recorded two interceptions as well as a forced fumble and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
Now retired, Brown barring one thing, wouldn’t have changed the way his career went.
“I would definitely would have liked to have won a championship that would have definitely been a major goal [to got out and accomplish],” Brown said. “As far as the experiences I had, friends that I made, everything like that, I wouldn’t change it.”
Brown was always passionate about food even cooking during his playing days. Today he resides in Houston owning and operating a food truck called “PhreshPlate” where he cooks healthy meals for his patrons.
“After I finished up playing and I knew I was done playing, I was looking at the next steps of my life and was looking up jobs and researching jobs and nothing was really exciting me,” Brown said. “And one thing I knew I liked to do was to cook so I thought about it I was like ‘You know what, I’m just gonna go ahead open up my own thing and do what I wanna do and what I love to do.”
While everything has its ups and downs, Brown says there are definitely challenges to running a successful food truck.
“It’s definitely about consistency that’s the hardest thing about it,” Brown said. “Houston is actually a pretty big food truck scene, there’s a lot of trucks out here so trying to find permanent parking has been a challenge and being a healthy truck we’re more of a niche especially out here and just gradually learning how to buy better as a business owner was definitely something I had to do, but it’s going well I can’t complain.”
The food truck puts a healthy twist on some breakfast options like protein blueberry waffles, blueberry pancakes, and turkey bacon.
Brown’s favorite thing to cook on his truck is the barbecued salmon, a dish he has been playing with since he was in the NFL. But the former Giant finds thrill in dabbling with the unknown in his life after football.
“I got that one down perfectly how I like to cook it, how I like it to come out,” Brown said.”Personally I like trying new recipes and trying to cook new things, that’s always my favorite thing is just the next thing I try to and learn how to cook.”