Football convert making most of Blue opportunity

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

Brady Browne looked at the list of eligible players for the 2008 CFL draft and noticed one minor mistake.

Under the Ds was Brady Dermott. Under the Bs was Brady Browne. The problem? They were the same guy.

"I saw it on the list, and I was just like, oh crap," Browne said. "Because you hear about the CFL draft and dead dudes. So I was like, this would be a new one if I got drafted two times."

In 2006 the Bombers backup safety changed his surname from Dermott to Browne (it's his mom's maiden name, and he is really close to her) when he was with the University of Manitoba Bisons. The B.C. Lions knew exactly who he was, however, and they drafted him 38th overall last spring.

Brady Dermott didn't get picked, and Brady Browne moved on with his professional career. It's a life path that seemed unlikely just seven years ago, considering he didn't start playing football until he was 20.

"In high school we only had rugby, so I played rugby and baseball," said Browne, who has nine special teams tackles in 13 games this season. "I went to Australia to travel, came back and just started playing flag football with my buddies. I was dominating these kids, but it was just my buddies.

"Then we had some junior guys come out, and I was still doing very well against them. They were like, 'Why don't you play junior football?' My mom was pressuring me to go to school."

Browne, who grew up in Maple Ridge, B.C., played for the BCFC's Tri-City Bulldogs junior team in 2003, and he landed on the conference all-star team. He was recruited by several schools and chose the Bisons.

"If you're fast, strong and crazy, you can play this game," Browne said.

After winning the Vanier Cup with the Herd in 2007, Browne embarked on his pro career with his hometown Lions but appeared in only one game. He signed as a free agent with Saskatchewan earlier this year, but they traded him to Winnipeg in the Dan Goodspeed deal less than a month later.

Now he's a valued member of Winnipeg's special teams and loving every minute of it.

"I still get messages on Facebook," Browne said. "People from high school are like, 'You play pro football? You never played football in high school!'

"That's why I don't take anything for granted. I'm very lucky and fortunate to do what I do."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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