Ray Brown has always stayed true to what he learned growing up in Marion, Ark. Brown learned the value of hard work, teamwork and leadership, all traits that helped him play 20 years in the NFL.
Now Brown is being honored in his home state of Arkansas. On Friday, Feb. 24, Brown will be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame during a banquet at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock, Ark.
Brown, a 6-5, 318-pound offensive lineman, played for the Redskins the last two years.
After the Redskins' Jan. 14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Playoffs, Brown announced his retirement from the NFL. He has not yet formally notified the league, however, and he enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
In the early 1980s, Brown was a star football player at Marion High School. Playing on both sides of the ball, he was an all-state football player and once made 25 tackles in a high school football game.
After playing two years at Memphis State, Brown transferred to Arkansas State where he would go on to become an All-Southland Conference selection.
As a 237-pound lineman and tight end in a wishbone offense, he was the first player in conference history to be named first-team all-conference at two different positions in the same season.
Brown was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth round of the 1986 NFL Draft. He first played for the Redskins from 1989-95, when he established himself in the NFL. He later played for San Francisco and Detroit, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2001 with the 49ers.
Brown returned to the Redskins prior to the 2004 season and served as a valuable backup for head coach Joe Gibbs. In 2004, he stepped in for injured right tackle Jon Jansen and started 14 games.
Last season, in mid-December, the 43-year-old Brown started two regular-season games and two postseason games for injured right guard Randy Thomas.
Brown approached the final weeks of his NFL career much in the same way he did throughout his career.
"It's not very complex," he said. "Let me watch film, let me practice, let me lift weights. I think I can give it to you on game day. I'm pretty low maintenance. I don't need somebody pumping me up. Forget the fact that I have played 20 years in this league. Can I block the guy in front of me? That's all that matters."