Originally written November 29, 2012 on Fox Sports Kansas City:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. It had been 1,178 days since the last 100-yard rushing effort, 168 weeks, three years and change. The last time Bryce Brown hit the century mark in a game September 5, 2009 the Black Eyed Peas sat atop the Billboard pop singles chart ("I Gotta Feeling"), with Miley Cyrus nipping right at their heels. "I was excited, I've got to be honest," Arthur Brown Sr., the father of the Philadelphia Eagles' rookie running back, told FOXSportsKansasCity.com. "For him to put in all the work that he has put in and to go on and live out one of his dreams it's something he always wanted to do, and it finally came to fruition. Very proud of him." And with good reason. Filling in for the injured LeSean McCoy, the former Wichita (Kan.) prep standout and Kansas State back ran absolutely wild on Monday Night Football earlier this week, raising eyebrows after setting a new Eagles rookie record with 178 rushing yards in Philly's 30-22 loss to Carolina. "I know he was nervous, because I know him," said Brian Butler, a longtime adviser and family friend. "I knew that before the game, he was going to be a little nervous. But Bryce understands that a lot of people here in this community are watching him, and he really wants to leave an impression upon the people here in this community." By all accounts, Brown whose brother, Arthur, is a middle linebacker with No. 6 Kansas State left a good one. The 223-pound bruiser ran for two scores, including a 65-yard jaunt, in his first start as a professional. It wasn't all roses; the rookie fumbled the ball away twice, too, and those who knew Bryce best also found themselves wondering how he'd react. "After Bryce's second fumble, (my daughter), she saw the look on his face on the sideline, and she looks at Bryce as a brother," Butler recalled. "She's like, Oh, man, look at his face, he's looking pretty mad.' "And I said, Now watch how he acts when he comes back on the field.' And it was a great lesson for my daughter as to how to carry yourself after a challenging opportunity or situation in that case, a fumble. How do you handle yourself afterward? He came back after that next drive and ran hard his body language was still upright and he handled himself like a professional." While no one doubted Bryce's talent, his journey to the NFL's center stage proved to be long, winding, and, occasionally, controversial. Regarded as one of the top high-school prospects in the country as a senior at Wichita's East High School, Brown's college trek began at Tennessee, where as a freshman in 2009, he ran for 460 yards and three touchdowns, largely in a reserve role. But when coach Lane Kiffin bolted after one season to take the USC job, Brown left Knoxville and transferred to K-State. Bryce sat out the 2010 season, and things got murky after that. An ankle injury slowed any forward progress, and after carrying the ball just three times in 2011, he left the program. "Because of the time spent and the depth, and they've been playing this game for such a long time, you can get burned out," Arthur Sr. said of his NFL son's short Manhattan stay. "And at that particular time, I think he was at a place where, when it comes to playing college football, he just didn't want to play college football any longer." The Eagles rolled the dice anyway, drafting him this past April in the seventh round; the rest is literally history. That 178-yard night was the most productive outing on Brown's resume since he'd rumbled for 104 yards in his collegiate debut against Western Kentucky, more than three years earlier. In other words, it was an awful long time to wait in order to feel that good again. Or rather, that bad, as Brown's dad found out when he called Bryce on Tuesday morning. "(He was) pretty sore," Arthur Sr. said, laughing. "Yeah, pretty sore, but excited." You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at seanmkeeler@gmail.com
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