Staying Involved

Journey Brown (right) talked with teammate Noah Cain on Wednesday afternoon at the Lasch practice fields. Although a medical retirement ended his playing days, Brown still regularly attends practice and continues his academic studies. Photo credit: John Patishnock

Scanning the Lasch practice fields Wednesday afternoon, somebody stood out.

It wasn’t because of a laser throw, or an acrobatic catch, or even a lightning-quick burst on either side of the ball. In fact, the guy wasn’t even in pads. He was wearing sweats. Still, what he was doing was impressive. Mainly, continuing to be a leader and supportive presence for his teammates.

Running back Journey Brown had one of the most legendary bowl performances in Penn State history in the Nittany Lions’ largely entertaining 53-39 victory over Memphis in the 2019 Cotton Bowl. He broke tackles, bowled over defenders, and provided plenty of clutch plays during a game that seesawed throughout.

The performance was incredible. It also marked the last time Brown will ever play competitive football again.

In November 2020, Brown announced a medical retirement from football due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition which thickens the walls of the heart chamber and makes it hard for the heart to pump blood. You can read more about Brown’s retirement on Athletics’ website. Immediately, Brown received an outpouring of support from coaches, teammates, alumni, and fans.

That support continues to this day, and you can check out our two videos below that show both head coach James Franklin and offensive lineman Juice Scruggs talking about Brown’s impact. Particularly noteworthy is Franklin emphasizing the importance of Brown graduating, along with additional players who’ve had to medically retire.

Earlier this month, I noticed that Micah Parsons has Brown included in his Twitter cover photo, and it inspired us to share some photos of Brown. Both he and Parsons propelled Penn State to that victory in the Cotton Bowl, with Parsons’ cover photo showing both of them — and their respective trophies for outstanding offensive and defensive player — at a media availability after the game.

Parsons is the leading candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and his Dallas Cowboys lead the NFC East with a 5-1 record, so it says a lot that he still chooses to highlight his days at Penn State and include Brown. You can see the photos we posted below, and from reading the replies, Brown still has fans cheering him in his post-playing days.

Count us at The Football Letter among those cheering for him, both at Penn State and in whatever he chooses to do after graduating.

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