But it hasn’t been easy for the former San Diego State receiver. He’s a constant presence on the sideline during practice and in games, when he’s not inside the team’s training facility performing rehabilitation work so he can ultimately return to practice.
“I’m out there getting mental reps,” Brown said. “I’m studying the playbook, of course. And I’m doing my rehab trying to get back.”
Brown has missed a month, but likely will be back sooner rather than later. Still, there will be a transition in terms of getting back in game shape and working into the offense when he returns.
“I’m familiar with the offense and things like that, so that definitely helps,” Brown said. “I’m more familiar than I was my first year coming off of the (ankle) injury. Hopefully, I’ll just be focused on getting back in shape, and getting back what I’ve missed the last couple weeks.”
Now in his fourth season with the Chargers, Brown has experienced his fair share of injuries in San Diego. He missed all of the 2012 season due to an ankle injury, but came back in 2013 to play all 16 games for the first time in his NFL career, finishing with 41 receptions for 472 yards and a touchdown. Brown had only one drop on the year.
Brown seemed to be building on that 2013 performance with the way he played during the offseason, catching everything as a frequent target of Philip Rivers. Even Keenan Allen mentioned that he was feeling the heat by the intense competition from Brown.
Now that he’s injured, questions have cropped up again about Brown’s durability and his value to the organization. However, Brown will likely be on San Diego’s 53-man roster for a couple different reasons.
First, if Allen or Malcom Floyd suffer injuries early in the season, the Chargers will not find a receiver on the free agent market like Brown, who intimately knows their system. If Brown is released during final roster cuts, he won’t be around to bring back in Week 3 if you need him – he’s too talented and will be on someone else’s active roster.
Second, Rivers and Brown have a good rapport. Rivers trusts that Brown is going to be where he’s supposed to be on the route, and it takes years of running routes during practice time to develop that chemistry.
Finally, the Chargers have invested a lot of time and effort in developing Brown the last four years. Why let another team benefit from the investment when you can reap that reward?
Brown is doing the right thing by being patient and making sure he’s fully healthy before returning to the field. Remember, the NFL season is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
“It’s frustrating,” Brown said. “Whenever you’re not able to play, it definitely gets to you a little bit. But I can’t control it. It’s something that I’ve got to go through, and just trust the Lord the he can help me get back as fast as I can.”