Saints' Brandon Browner embraces role as physical player, leader

METAIRIE, La. -- Cornerback Brandon Browner said he felt like the New Orleans Saints were “just the right fit for me,” which is part of the reason why he wasted little time signing a three-year, $15 million deal with the Saints last week, just days after being released by the New England Patriots.

“The idea in their head of the way of using me fits perfect for me,” said Browner, a 6-foot-4, 221-pounder who has made his mark as a physical press-coverage corner for the past two Super Bowl championship teams, New England and the Seattle Seahawks. “I understand what they're looking for in a cornerback with my ability. It seemed like the right fit for me. …

“I didn't pay too much attention to them last year. They weren't opponents of mine. [But] I got a few good friends on the team [including former Oregon State teammate and fellow cornerback Keenan Lewis]. I know about [Drew] Brees, I know about the coaching staff. It felt like it was the right fit for me.”

When asked to describe his strengths and weaknesses in a conference call with the New Orleans media, Browner said, “My weaknesses, I would probably would say since I'm a bigger guy I'm not as quick twitch, but that same [trait] could be my strength, too. I'm longer, so it makes it difficult for those guys to get off the line.”

Browner had one interception and eight pass breakups in a total of 12 games for the Patriots last year, including the playoffs -- though he was also flagged for a total of 18 penalties, thanks in part to the NFL’s increased emphasis on contact and interference calls.

Browner, who made the Pro Bowl with Seattle in 2011, has 11 interceptions and 47 pass breakups, including the playoffs, during the past four years. Before that he played in the Canadian Football League.

Browner, 30, also has a reputation for being a passionate guy who could help serve as a veteran leader for a young Saints secondary that lost its way last year. And he didn’t shy away from that responsibility when asked about it Monday.

“That's my character, it's in my nature to be passionate about the game. ... I can only be me. A lot of times that's a great way of leading by example,” Browner said. “You don't go out and force anything. But if you have anything to [say] to one of your young teammates that can ultimately help them, I'll ultimately say something to guys. My way of leading is by example. I try to come to work every day and show my passion about the game, and how I work it and perform on Sundays.”

Browner said it’s “refreshing” to join a Saints team that is reshaping its identity this offseason.

“I get to prove myself to the guys, show my leadership to the team,” Browner said. “That’s the fun part about it.”

When asked what he learned while playing for two championship organizations and Seattle and New England that he can bring to New Orleans, Browner said the theme in Seattle was “competition” and what he took from New England and the “Belichick Way” was “work.”

“Competition every day at work is something I can take from both organizations and bring to the New Orleans Saints,” Browner said. “That's what I'm about -- working and trying to compete to make the team better.”

The Patriots released Browner before he was due a $2 million roster bonus last week. He said he was “kind of” surprised but “I understand it’s the business.”

“I’m not a young guy anymore. I have no hard feelings,” Browner said. “It was a championship run, and I was blessed to be able to get a ring with them.”