CARDINALS CORNER

‘Of course,’ Hollywood Brown would want to be back with Cardinals

Jan 4, 2024, 5:00 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2024, 1:17 pm

Hollywood Brown celebrates a touchdown...

Marquise Brown #2 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at State Farm Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s status with the franchise appears locked in as an important first season under the new regime comes to a close.

The same can’t be said for his good friend and wide receiver Hollywood Brown.

Wrapping up the final year of his rookie deal this season, Brown will hit free agency for the first time as a pro.

Despite his up-and-down season that ended early due to a lingering heel injury and an injured-reserve stint, there’s bound to be outside interest.

But if it were up to the wideout, he’d like to run it back in the desert.

“Of course,” Brown said when asked if he wanted to be back with the Cardinals and a part of the culture being built. “I hear good things from (head coach Jonathan Gannon, general manager Monti Ossenfort), everybody. But yeah, I would want to be back here.”

At the end of the day, though, the NFL’s a business.

Given his production and Brown’s injury history the past couple seasons, there’s a good chance he won’t get the multi-year extension a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL would command like he may have thought entering the season. That’s not to say there isn’t a possibility for a multi-year deal, just on a smaller scale.

However, a one-year, prove-it deal, a lot like the $12 million contract projected by Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, is much more realistic.

But either way a deal shakes out, Murray just wants one to happen.

“I am hoping he comes back,” the QB said Wednesday. “I’ll let (Ossenfort and Brown) do their thing, but I would love for him to be back for sure.”

What Hollywood Brown proved to himself in 2023

Brown’s season (14 games) was filled with career lows in receiving yards (574) and receptions (51), a team high — entering the final week — in touchdowns (four) and a nagging heel injury in the latter part of 2023 bringing his season to an end prematurely.

It was about as erratic as you could get for an NFL player.

That’s not to say Brown isn’t thankful for another year in the league.

“I learned a lot, my play grew a lot,” Brown said. “I proved to myself a lot of things that I wanted to see this year. It was unfortunate the season didn’t go as planned as far as us winning and stuff like that, but I felt like I showed what I can do.”

“Just the way I beat man coverage, the way I got off press,” he added. “Every week I asked coach, ‘What do you want to see from me?’ And every week I showed him. … He was like, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing.’ Once he started saying that to me, I felt like I was on the right path.”

After Arizona’s final game of the season this weekend against the Seattle Seahawks, it’s off to the offseason for Brown and the rest of the Cardinals.

From there, it’s all about getting back to 100% and making sure 2023 is the floor to Brown’s NFL career, whether he continues on with the Cardinals or heads elsewhere.

“For me, it’s about working. Just working every day and keep continuing to prove yourself,” Brown said. “That’s what this business is.

“No matter if you have a good year, you got to repeat that good year. You have a bad year, you got to come back and try to do better. That’s where my mind’s at with it.”

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‘Of course,’ Hollywood Brown would want to be back with Cardinals