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John Brown Wanted a One-Year 'Prove-It' Deal

Posted Mar 16, 2018

Baltimore's wide receiver wants to show teams that he can get back to the high level of play he reached in 2015 when he topped 1,000 receiving yards.

Most free agents are looking for long-term contracts.

Not John Brown.

Baltimore’s newest receiver wanted to sign a one-year contract this offseason when he hit the open market for the first time in his career. Coming off two seasons where he dealt with a variety of injuries, Brown opted to bet on himself with a “prove-it” deal that could allow him to get an even bigger payday next year.

“I wanted the one-year deal just because the last two years I was fighting through injuries and I didn’t produce how I was supposed to,” Brown said during his introductory press conference. “And I feel like a one-year deal where I can go somewhere where I feel at home and can play football and be happy again, I feel like this was the best fit for me.”

Brown’s contract is reportedly worth $5 million with incentives that could elevate it to $6.5 million.

The27-year-old receiver is coming off the worst season of his career, where he caught 21 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns. He’s also missed seven games over the last two seasons because of toe, quad and hamstring issues.

“Everyone is counting me out, so I always have a point to prove,” Brown said. “It’s either, ‘He’s not healthy,’ or ‘He’s too small.’ There’s always something that somebody is going to bring up.”

The 5-foot-11, 179-pound receiver is confident he can return to the level he displayed during his first two years in the league (2014-2015). He only missed one game those seasons and put up a combined 1,699 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. 

The speedster looked like he would quickly become one of the game’s top deep threats, and the Ravens talked with him about getting back to that level of production.

“They expect me to come in and play fast, get back to my old ways,” he said.

Part of the reported struggle for Brown over the last two years is that he was diagnosed as a carrier of the sickle-cell trait. Carriers of the trait can experience extreme muscle soreness from intense exercise or heat, and his hamstring issues were consistently tied back to the sickle-cell trait.

Brown told reporters in Baltimore that his injury issues have too often been attributed to the sickle-cell trait. A bigger issue was the cyst he had removed after the 2016 season, he said. 

“I’m healthy. I’m feeling good. Sickle cell was never part of the problem,” he said. “I’m fine and I’m healthy and I know how to handle the situation.”

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