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August 25, 2012
The Baltimore Ravens will play their final NFL preseason game Thursday night, when they visit the St. Louis Rams.
Two days later, former Marshall star Omar Brown will find out his football future with the defending AFC North champions.
The Ravens signed Brown as an undrafted free agent in May. Since then, he has made quite a case that he deserves to make their 53-man roster.
A 5-foot-11, 195-pound safety, Brown has recorded four tackles and one interception and recovered three fumbles and one onside kick in Baltimore's three preseason games.
"I didn't imagine it would be like this," Brown said of his knack for finding the football during his on-the-job audition for a roster spot.
"But I'm the type who works really hard. I knew if I carried that to the next level, I would be successful. I didn't get drafted because I'm an under-sized safety, but I always knew I had the ability to play at the next level."
The 24-year-old Brown is confident he will make the final cut.
"I feel like I have made a name for myself," said Brown, who is from Moncks Corner, South Carolina.
"But the NFL is a business. There are a lot of people who work hard and make plays, and they still get cut. I'm just enjoying this time while I have it. Whatever happens, happens."
"There are a lot of mixed emotions. I try not to think about it, but it's hard not to think about it. I just go out there and give it all I have got. I'm just staying focused and working hard. I'm not thinking about the other things I can't control: Am I going to make the team? How many safeties are they going to keep? I just go out there and enjoy myself."
Baltimore players and coaches, including head coach John Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and secondary coach Teryl Austin, have praised Brown for his preseason performances. They also have given him nicknames, such as Hawk, Ball Magnet and Little Ed, the last one a reference to Ravens star safety Ed Reed.
"I just take it and laugh about it," Brown said.
"I don't even know what to say about it. I don't even think I should be mentioned in the same sentence as Ed Reed."
Brown played in 43 career games at Marshall, where he amassed 288 tackles, nine interceptions, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He was an All-Conference USA first-team selection as a senior last year.
"Oh, yeah, it does, it does," Brown said when asked if it means a lot to him to represent the Thundering Herd program and Huntington community.
"When I first went to Marshall, I was up there by myself. When I left after I graduated, I left a bunch of family and friends behind. Marshall is a part of me. I believe I grew on the community, and the community grew on me."
"It's a great feeling to see all the comments I get on my Facebook and Twitter from Herd fans. It's special. It's always good to have fans who support you and are behind you. That helps you get through the ups and downs. I love the fans and communicate with them as much as I can with the little time I do have. I have a fan page on Facebook, and I have some diehard fans who keep me updated on myself. They post links (to magazine, newspaper and website articles) that I wouldn't know about if it weren't for them."
Brown is not the only 2011 senior trying to make an NFL roster. Defensive end Vinny Curry and defensive tackle Delvin Johnson are hoping to be on the 53-man rosters for the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, respectively.
"It's a great feeling to know you went through the grind with those guys and see them make it to the next level with you," Brown said.
"There is no better feeling, really."
Jacob Messer is the managing editor for HerdNation.com. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments and feedback are welcome.