Rookie Brown returns home to play Falcons

Reggie Brown

FLOWERY BRANCH - Reggie Brown is eager to return to one of his favorite haunts.

A rookie receiver whom Philadelphia drafted in the second round of the NFL draft, Brown enjoyed some good times at the Georgia Dome, which will host a small enclave of Brown fans when the Eagles and Atlanta Falcons open their season Monday night.

Reggie Brown was one of the state's most heavily recruited players during his junior and senior seasons at Carrollton High School. The Trojans won semifinal games at the Dome both years before finally claiming their first state championship in 24 years with an easy win at Early County in 1998.

As a sophomore at Georgia three years later, Brown didn't figure prominently in the Bulldogs' blowout of Arkansas in the SEC title game, though that victory gave his school its first outright conference championship since 1982.

Brown provided one of the few bright moments the following year at the Dome when Georgia lost to LSU. Turning a busted play into a 35-yard gain, Brown helped Georgia cut the Tigers' lead to 24-13 in the third quarter. LSU read the Bulldogs' double reverse easily, but Brown turned the other way and broke off a big gain.

"I always do big things there," Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer this week. "It was ... my junior year. I was playing safety, and the other team threw a Hail Mary. I caught it and ran it back, like, 80 yards (for a touchdown) and jumped up in the stands."

A work ethic that helped him catch 144 career passes at Georgia for 2,008 yards and 12 touchdowns has continued with the Eagles, who list him as the third receiver behind Terrell Owens and Brad Lewis. Brown holds a job that Freddie Mitchell held last year.

"With the quarterback learning the verbiage part of the offense, receivers have to be able to recognize what they're seeing in front of them, be able to know what their route is and also get the right depth so the timing is down," Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said Thursday.

"I think Reggie has picked up on things pretty quickly, but again, we have to remember he's still a rookie and he's learning things week in, week out. I think what he's shown, is he's shown that he can obviously catch the ball and make things happen after the catch."

Brown has impressed head coach Andy Reid with a willingness to put in extra time to learn the offense in the classroom and on the field.

"I have been very, very happy and pleased with his approach to this whole thing and I know he looks forward to coming back to Georgia and Atlanta," Reid said. "That's home for him and he thinks the world of all the people down there."

Brown anticipates that approximately 20 friends and family members will watch him Monday. Some of them might not recognize him after Brown decided last week to cut off the dreadlocks that hung in front of his face.

"Dreads kept hitting me in my eyeballs," Brown said. "I kind of got tired of it."

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