Phase one of voluntary offseason workouts kicked off for the Seattle Seahawks Monday, and in addition to testing and a team meeting, the day was a chance for players to catch up after a few months away from team headquarters.
Among those mingling with teammates in the Virginia Mason Athletic Center locker room was cornerback Brandon Browner, who re-signed with Seattle after spending the past two seasons with New England and New Orleans. And while it might be easy to see Browner chatting with Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, his old No. 39 affixed above his locker, and think it's almost as if Browner never left, the veteran cornerback feels like he's starting over in his second stint with the Seahawks.
Browner, who established himself in the NFL with Seattle in 2011, is ready to approach this offseason much like he did as an unproven player trying to make the leap from the CFL's Calgary Stampeders to the NFL.
"I still feel like this is my first year," Browner said Monday. "I've got the nerves and anxiety all over again. I guess that's a good thing, because I want to prove myself all over again."
Browner feels the need to prove himself all over again because he doesn't want the final chapter of his NFL career to be a subpar season with a 7-9 team.
"I had a rough season last year, so I didn't want to go out that way—losing, having my worst season—and maybe retiring that way," he said. "So I just worked hard (in the offseason), and hopefully it will show once the season starts."
What kind of role Browner has in his second go-around with the Seahawks remains to be seen, but his presence, the attitude and toughness that were a big part of the original "Legion of Boom" secondary, those things will be felt in the locker room and on the practice field.
"I'm really excited for him," Sherman said. "He belongs here… He's a different kind of animal than some of the guys have seen. All of us have our different ways and our different abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and I think he brings a totally different element than all of us, and I think the locker room needed that. Just the attitude, demeanor, presence."
Since it was announced Sunday that Browner and the Seahawks had agreed to terms on a deal, Browner "got a hundred-something text messages, I haven't been able to get back at everybody, but I definitely feel the love… It's definitely good to get the love again."
And having stated publicly his desire to someday return to Seattle as long ago as last summer at Sherman's celebrity softball game—something Browner admits didn't help him get off on the right foot with Saints fans—he feels back at home in the Seahawks locker room.
"It's great, it's awesome," Browner said. "These are my best friends, and I get an opportunity to play with these guys again. I'm excited about it… Earl (Thomas), Kam and Sherm, those are my brothers. It's the original LOB, so I'm excited to be playing with those guys. Guys like Bobby Wagner as well. Look forward to playing with them."
The Seahawks are back in Seattle for the first day of the team's official offseason voluntary workout program held at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center, where players went through testing and measurements with athletic trainers and attended a team meeting.