IRVING, Texas – Linebacker Jerry Brown was in the process of continuing his NFL dream when his life was cut short early Saturday morning in a car driven by Josh Brent, his former teammate at Illinois.
The 25-year-old had a long journey between his days at Illinois and his first taste of the NFL. After going undrafted in 2011, Brown went to the Canadian Football League and had two stops in the Arena Football League before joining the Indianapolis Colts at the beginning of this year.
He was active in one game for Indianapolis before getting released and going to the Colts practice squad. After his contract was terminated in Indianapolis, Brown joined the Cowboys' practice squad in October in place of receiver Raymond Radway.
Before making his way to the NFL, Brown played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League and the Jacksonville Sharks and San Antonio Talons of the Arena Football League.
Brent, who was arrested for intoxicated manslaughter, was a familiar face for Brown in the Cowboys' locker room going back to their days at Illinois.
Brown played mostly defensive end in college, playing in all 13 games at the position in 2007 and in 11 games in 2008.
Brown was named the Defensive Scout Team Player of The Year during his redshirt season in 2006 at Illinois. Six years later, he would be helping the Cowboys prepare for their opponents. The Missouri native celebrated his 25th birthday a month and a half ago on Oct. 20.