• Joe Broback

What a Journey: Penn State running back Brown forced to medically retire

In a world of uncertainty and turmoil, sometimes it's good to get a reminder that it's about the journey, not the destination. Even if life throws you a curveball or two. Journey Brown learned that the hard way and announced that he would retire from football. A career full of potential is done, but it's times like these that cause for celebration of a young man who gave college football plenty of excitement.

This was going to be the year for Journey Brown. A monstrous perfromance against Memphis in the Cotton Bowl had everyone in Happy Valley excited about the future. College football analysts everywhere were beginning to get on board with his potential, and the Nittany Lions were set to have one of the best backs in the Big Ten.

Brown's running style reminded me of former Oklahoma and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Maybe not the breakaway speed, but the tenacity and refusal to be tackled no matter where he was on the field. Brown could run anyone over, but also take any hit from anyone. He was a special breed, and we were just beginning to see that side of him. Journey was one of those "pound the table" guys for me, because I saw the greatness in his game. To me, he was already one of the best backs in the country, and the sky was the limit.

In his final five games, which we now know as his final of his career, Brown averaged 118.6 yards per game and scored a total of nine touchdowns. His 202-yard, two touchdown performance produced a number of highlight reel runs that we will never forget. I've said this before, college football is about the memories created, and Brown certainly provided many. Penn State won't forget.

Though the Nittany Lions could have used Brown in their offense this season, all of their love and support heads his way. We knew something was going on before the season began, and now it's official. College football hurts for Journey Brown. When you think about how talented you have to be to get to where he did, it hurts that it's nothing he did that ended his career. It was something that he couldn't control. It hurts because of the potential we saw in his game, and we know that it's tough for him to imagine life without football.

So I'll end with this. Journey, thank you for the memories you gave us. It doesn't matter when you did it, because we'll always talk about the Cotton Bowl. We'll always talk about the joy you gave us on Saturdays, and that's something that can't be taken away. We wish you luck in all your future journeys and we once again say: thank you.

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