New Orleans Saints DE Alex Brown: “The Florida Gators will never change for me.”

With eight years of professional football under his belt, former Florida Gators defensive end Alex Brown is moving on from the Chicago Bears to the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. In a brand new city with an upbeat and positive mindset, Brown landed in Louisiana on Wednesday to start preparing for training camp. The first thing he did after touching down? Provide OGGOA with an exclusive half-hour interview covering everything from his recruitment and time with the Gators to the Bears’ Super Bowl run and why grits are his favorite thing about the city of New Orleans, LA (so far).

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Growing up in a small town, was it difficult to get noticed by the University of Florida and make an impression on head coach Steve Spurrier?
ALEX BROWN: “Yeah, it was. I just wanted to go and play football – that’s all I did. I was nervous because I didn’t know if people would see me. My dad was really good just staying on me about it. ‘If you go play, if you’re good enough, they’ll find you.’ That was his big thing. All I did was go play – and they found me.”

AS: What made you decide to attend Florida rather than going to Georgia or another school? Were you always a Gators fan?
AB: “I actually was not a Florida fan at all. I really wasn’t even going to take a visit to Florida. University of Miami – that year – my last visit I was going to take was going to be to the University of Miami. And I was going to choose between Miami, Florida State, North Carolina and Auburn. There was a kid that got killed at Miami – I want to say it was like on a Monday or Tuesday – and I was supposed to go on a visit that coming weekend. And my mom was like, ‘No way, you can’t go. You can’t do it.’ I was like, ‘Alright, I guess I will not take another visit.’ I talked to [Buffalo Bills linebacker] Andra Davis, who I’ve known since like fifth grade, and he had just taken his visit to Florida and that was the celebration of the National Championship – that was that week. He had a great time. So I talked to him and he said he was going to Florida. He’s like, ‘Just take your visit there, you’re not going to go to Miami, so take your visit to Florida.’ Early in the week, I called coach [Jimmy Ray] Stephens, he was the offensive line coach at the time and the guy that recruited me. He said, ‘OK.’ I was in Gainesville for a day. [Atlanta Falcons LB] Mike Peterson was my host and, by the time I left, they could have left me there. I was going for sure. As soon as I got back, I started calling all the other coaches and letting them know that this is what I want. It wasn’t too far from home but far enough away, I guess. And they were good. I played linebacker, and they had [former DE] Jevon Kearse, Mike Peterson and [former LB] Johnny Rutledge – and I thought I fit right in. It was a great match for me and took me all of a day-and-a-half to figure that out.

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Alex Brown…after the break!
Continue Reading » New Orleans Saints DE Alex Brown: “The Florida Gators will never change for me.”

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FOUR BITS: Dunlap, Tyus & Donovan, Pierre-Louis

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap has decided to make it his mission to silence his doubters and do whatever it takes to help his new team, the Cincinnati Bengals, improve on defense this year. “My plan is to help contribute in the pass-rushing game,” Dunlap told the Dayton Daily News. “That’s one of the things I heard coach [Marvin Lewis] say the team lacked last year. Although I feel rushing the passer is one of the things I do well, it’s certainly not my best attribute. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get on the field and help the team win games. […] I want to go after defensive rookie of the year honors. People’s negative comments help motivate me. They say I should have been a first-rounder but I’m not. So all I can do now is make everyone who passed on me pay.”

2 » Though Dunlap is confident in what he can do this year, his team’s owner, Mike Brown, may see his selection with the No. 54 overall pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft as just another risky decision by Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. As Cincinnati was in the process cleaning up its image as a franchise accepting of bad behavior, they have recently signed or drafted players charged with drug possession (wide receiver Matt Jones), DUI (Dunlap and WR Chris Davis) and numerous arrests (defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones). How Dunlap turns out – and whether or not he gets into further trouble – could be a strong indictment on Lewis’ job security.

3 » Florida junior forward Alex Tyus, who has kept relatively quiet throughout the entire process of deciding to return to school, has accepted that he will not start at small forward for the Gators, according to his fiancée Alli Cecchini. “He understands Chandler [Parsons] has won that position,” she told the Orlando Sentinel. “He hasn’t proven himself to be a 3 here. His chance to show he can play the 3 is at the professional level, but for now he respects where the team is coming from.” Cecchini also said that, contrary to what some may believe, Tyus remains close with head coach Billy Donovan. “We have a great relationship with Donovan, we talk to him all the time,” she added. “It’s not like a strained relationship at all.”

4 » Though some are discounting any chance he might have in making a team, former Gators cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis has already worked out for his second in a week, visiting the Baltimore Ravens after being dismissed by the New York Giants a few days ago. Pro Football Talk reports that Pierre-Louis “will be sent packing by the Ravens,” but The News-Press believes Baltimore has legitimate interest in him for a special teams position. “It’s not really that much different [than college],” Pierre-Louis said. “It’s a little bit faster because everybody knows what to do and where to go.”

Extra Bit » Florida junior Alexandre Lacroix and redshirt senior Antoine Benneteau have each been named to the 2010 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I Men’s All-American Team, according to a release from the University of Florida. Lacroix, who posted a 32-9 record this season as a singles competitor, earned recognition in both categories (singles and doubles); Benneteau, however, only earned the doubles honor (Lacroix is his teammate and the duo holds a 17-5 record).

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