Brandon Browner is back in Seattle and back in his familiar No. 39 jersey. By all accounts, however, Browner's second stint with the Seahawks won't look a lot like his first one when he was a starting cornerback from 2011 to 2013.
Instead, the Seahawks had Browner playing safety in his first week of organized team activities back in Seattle after a season in New England and one in New Orleans. Rather than having Browner lined up out wide like he used to with the Seahawks, he instead was playing deep in the middle of the field at times, and close to the line of scrimmage in the box at other times. There's a long way to go between now and the regular season, but Browner's new role could be one that fits his physical style perfectly.
"He's a football player, so we're trying to find a place where he can help contribute and bring that toughness and competitiveness that he has to add to the team," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "His attitude is terrific about it—he's playing safety is what he's doing, and we're moving him around and doing some different stuff. It gives us a real special player with unique qualities, which we always love."
Asked about the idea of mixing it up with tight ends in the box or being physical in the running game, Browner smiled and said, "I love it. It's kind of similar to some of the things I did in New England. I'll be matched up on guys that fit my size, be in there on the run a little bit. It'll show my skillset a little bit.
"That's what I did in New England. Matched up against guys I see eye-to-eye with—tight ends, 6-6 guys, 240-plus."
Carroll also mentioned Browner's 2014 season in New England as something that influenced Seattle's decision to try him in a new role, as well as Browner's attitude.
"He's a great competitive guy, plays really tough football," Carroll said. "He's a guy who draws the best out of people around him; guys feed off his energy because he's so tough. And then his willingness to go ahead and learn a new spot, he was wide open to it. I had the chance to see him play in positions like he's being asked to play now when he was in New England, and we saw some really good things we thought we could mix into our stuff, and he's very much looked the part. But I really think it's about him, we like the guy so much."
Browner's one season in New England was a mostly successful one, though he joked that he has tried to stay away from discussing the final game of that season, Super Bowl XLIX, with his Seattle teammates.
"That's a touchy subject, man," he said. "I try to leave that one alone, man."
For Browner, coming back to Seattle was a "no-brainer" he said, even though other teams had interest.
"It means a lot (being back)," he said. "I'm happy to have a job, happy to be playing with my friends again. I look forward to it."
But while Browner is happy to be back in a familiar setting and around old friends, he's also excited to try something new this time around.
"Being on the outside, it's more of a man-to-man concept—you're a corner on an island," Browner said of playing cornerback "Being in the box… things are just a little different. But you're a football player in there. Playing corner, it's more of a one-on-one thing, we're playing basketball out there on that island. When you're in that box, that's football, I think."
The Seahawks held the third of nine Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on Thursday, May 26 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.