Levi Brown is not oblivious.
The Arizona Cardinals’ offensive tackle knows that the team signing free agent Eric Winston means the line got more crowded.
Winston, Bobby Massie, Nate Potter and Brown have all started NFL games, but only two can get the nod for the team. And entering the second season of a five-year, $30 million contract, the 29-year-old would be a pretty expensive backup.
“I already know that that’s a possibility,” he said when asked, essentially, if he could end up not making the roster. “So I just take it one day at a time.”
The 6-foot-6, 324-pound Brown has been with the Cardinals since 2007 when they drafted him fifth overall out of Penn State, but missed all of last season with a torn right triceps tendon. Now back and healthy, he has to prove himself all over again to a new coaching staff, even though head coach Bruce Arians has professed a belief that the veteran could be an “elite” NFL tackle.
“Everything that they want to see, that I can handle the left tackle position,” he said when asked what he needs to show his new coaches.
Brown has no doubts about his ability to do just that, but now he’s got to prove it, and Friday he got back on the field really for the first time since the injury. Sure, he participated in the Organized Team Activities, but training camp offers a better chance to show what he’s got.
“It’s been a long rehab process — a lot longer than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “It’s good to just get back out here and feel it around and see how it feels, and actually get back out there and compete.”
Unfortunately for Brown, Friday’s work was not in full pads, so he was not able to “punch” with the right arm, which he said is what he’s really looking to do to prove to himself– and the coaches — that he’s completely healed.
“Just waiting for the opportunity to present itself,” he said with a smile.
The word “opportunity” has never really seemed more pertinent for Brown than it does right now. Whether it means a chance to prove he’s healthy or to win a battle to make the roster, training camp will offer Brown all he needs.
And he knows it.