Orlando Brown Jr. remembers the conversations with his father about making the Pro Bowl one day. Brown was just a kid then, but his dad knew he was going to be something special.
On Sunday, that dream became a realization, and Brown decided to honor his late father by wearing his No. 77 jersey from 1996 when he arrived at and left the Pro Bowl.
"I've had it for a long time, clearly, 23 years," Brown said. "It's a game-worn jersey as far as I know. It still has a few of the sweat stains on there.
"I'm a family first kind of guy, I've got all my family here and I thought it would be special. He never made one in his 13-year career and to make it is not the easiest thing, and I know he would be proud about the circumstances because of the goals I set as a young man to get to this point and be here [at the Pro Bowl]."
Brown Sr. played for the Ravens from 1996 to 1998 and again from 2003 to 2005. He was known for his mauling play on the field, where he had no friends. Off the field, however, he was one of the most-beloved teammates.
His son has very much the same mentality, but with a little more height and athleticism. Brown Sr. was undrafted out of South Carolina State. His son was a third-round pick out of Oklahoma, who has quickly become one of the NFL's top tackles in just two seasons.
Brown Sr. died in 2011 of complications from diabetes, but before he did, he talked to his son about the lofty goals he should set for himself.
"I remember him talking about how if I made the Pro Bowl and he was still living, he would be down there acting a fool]," Brown said with a laugh [when he was named as an alternate. "I know he would be really happy."
The day was emotional for many players at the Pro Bowl after hearing news of Kobe Bryant's death in a tragic helicopter accident, and it hit home for Brown considering the loss of his father. Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also killed in the crash and he has three other daughters.
"I feel sorry for him, obviously, but his kids and his wife as well," Brown said. "Being someone that dealt with the death of a parent, it's not easy. To think (Bryant) won't ever be there for when they're adults, or even teenagers, that's tough."