KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Arthur Brown entered the NFL in 2013 with impressive credentials.
The 6-0, 240-pound Brown, a native of Wichita, Kan., enjoyed a decorated career at Kansas State as an All-American selection and the 2012 Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Brown’s path, however, hit a road bump in Baltimore, where he currently serves as a backup to Daryl Smith, a 12-year veteran, and C.J. Mosely, a second-year pro.
And the former Wildcat admits his career hasn’t gone the way many envisioned when the Ravens selected Brown in the second round (56th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.
“My experience from being in college and the transition to the league has been a process of step-by-step progression,” Brown said in a telephone interview. “Right now, I’m not currently where I’d like to be. But I’m taking it one day at a time, moment-by-moment, working my way through.”
Brown’s rookie season saw him appear in 14 games as a reserve, totaling 15 tackles (11 solo) and a ½ sack. He was inactive most of the 2014 season, appearing in just four games.
But Brown maintained a positive attitude and appears to be making strides in 2015, appearing in all 13 games entering Sunday’s matchup against the Chiefs.
“I think he’s done a great job,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a conference call with Chiefs beat writers. “The thing about Arthur – you know him a little bit from Kansas State – he’s so conscientious, he’s about as good a human being you can possibly have.”
While Brown’s time on defense continues to be limited with just 10 total snaps on the season, the Ravens head coach points out the lack of repetitions isn’t an indictment of Brown’s ability.
“He hasn’t been able to crack the lineup as much on defense because we probably have – it’s stacked against him a little,” Harbaugh said. “C.J. Mosley, obviously, a great young player, Darryl Smith is a veteran who hasn’t really relinquished any reps. Darryl has been out there playing really well.”
Meanwhile, it is with Smith that Brown said he has learned how to prepare during the week and be a professional on and off the field.
And Brown willingly absorbs the veteran mentorship.
“Being able to have a firm and solid example of what to do,” he said, “that’s something that I’ve been striving to implement and apply as a player here and as a person.”
Brown may not have an extended role on defense, but he found another area to make an impact.
Brown has played 199 total special teams snaps, which ranks as the fifth-most for the Ravens, and his performance with the unit has his head coach’s attention.
“He’s become a factor for us on special teams,” Harbaugh said. “He’s played very well on special teams, blocking, covering, very physical force out there.”
Harbaugh’s compliment shouldn’t be taken lightly when considering he knows the intricacies of that unit well from serving as a special teams coordinator with current Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia (1999-2007).
Baltimore’s head coach also has experience with the mindset of K-State players having coached linebacker Mark Simoneau, who played for the Eagles for three seasons (2003-05).
“The thing I’d say probably is that those two guys both have a great love for football,” Harbaugh said of Brown and Simoneau. “They’re both very conscientious, good people, about as solid a character as you can have.”
For his part, Brown embraces his current role.
He points out special teams requires him to play fast and possess the ability to maintain discipline with lane responsibility, both of which convey well to his natural position at inside linebacker.
“I think it’s a great training tool,” Brown said. “Obviously, the skills you apply in special teams are transferrable to offense and defense. So, you really get to hone in on your fundamentals and technique during that phase because that’s really what it takes to be a successful player on special teams.”
In the meantime, Brown will remain patient while drawing inspiration from his time at K-State under coach Bill Synder, who was recently inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Brown said he intends to spend time during the offseason in Manhattan to train, adding his collegiate career provides the setting to implement lessons learned as he continues to develop.
“Honestly, my current situation is a great opportunity to really apply some of the values that I learned in college under Coach Snyder,” Brown said. “It’s been a struggle, but also a growing experience that I can apply and learn in life.”