There are some players who, for whatever reason, just seem to be at their best when they play for the Patriots, rather than for other NFL franchises.
Kyle Van Noy comes to mind, as does Trent Brown.
After three so-so seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Brown arrived in New England in 2018 as a talented offensive lineman with an iffy work-ethic reputation. But he was excellent that season for the Patriots, holding down the left side of the offensive line as New England marched to a Super Bowl LIII victory.
Brown signed a lucrative contract with the then-Oakland Raiders during the offseason but never lived up to it. In addition to missing 16 games due to injuries, Brown again faced questions over his commitment.
But 2021 saw the 6-foot-8, 380-pound force return to Foxboro, Mass., with an opportunity to prove himself once more. Brown missed seven games due to a calf injury, but he was mostly great when on the field and drew strong reviews from Bill Belichick for his leadership. After testing the free-agent waters in March, the 29-year-old re-signed with the Patriots on a two-year contract — much to the delight of Mac Jones.
So, what is it about New England that makes Brown so comfortable?
“I think accountability is at a higher standard,” Brown said during a recent “The Pat McAfee Show 2.0” episode. ” … As you guys know, doing business in any business, especially this one, you can be bulls—-ed. People can yank your tail. They can pull you, yank you around and not necessarily tell you the truth. But here, I just respect it just because I know what I’m gonna get day in and day out, and I know I’m gonna get the truth day in and day out — from top to bottom.
“And I think that’s what matters most, where we do business and conduct business as men, and we’re led as men as well. So, I think that’s what I can respect most about this place.”
Brown also offered his thoughts on the current state of the Patriots following spring practices.
“We had a great offseason program and I’m excited about this fall, honestly,” he said.
“We worked our asses off together, we made sure we hung out outside of the building, and we’ve just been supporting each other overall in whatever each guy individually had going on. I’m really excited about what we have going on coming into this fall. I really, truly, believe that our love for one another has grown tremendously.”
If you’ve followed the Patriots closely over the last year, you know few members of the team are higher on Jones than Brown is. His confidence in the young quarterback only has grown since summer.
“Mac is always the first one in the building, last one out,” he said. “For him to be so young and have a lot of weight on his shoulders, you wouldn’t even be able to tell. The way he carries himself, he’s a fun guy.
“He can shoot the (expletive) from time to time, but he can really handle his business day-in and day-out. I respect the kid as much as anyone else in the locker room.”
We’ll see what 2022 brings for Brown. His injury history remains a concern, and the Patriots can’t afford instability on the offensive line as they enter Year 2 of the Jones era.
But expect Brown to do everything he can to remain in New England for the foreseeable future.
“Here we are, going into Year 8 back with the Patriots,” he said. “Hopefully, this can be my final home.”