Lomas Brown was a 7 time Pro Bowler, 3 time First Team All Pro, and a Super Bowl champion during his 18 year NFL career as an offensive lineman. He's been nominated for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He had a lengthy career the wide majority of NFL players could only dream of and then parlayed that into a second career as an ESPN NFL analyst. Brown isn't one of ESPN's highest profile analysts by a long stretch, but he's stuck around longer than the likes of Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks, Ray Buchanan, and others.
But this week, Lomas Brown's 18 year, 263 game career became narrowed down to one regretful play in 1994 when he admitted to intentionally missing a block in hopes of getting his quarterback, Scott Mitchell, knocked out of a game. Brown then got caught in a fiery tornado (if such a thing exists) of controversy that stretched from former teammates to his own Twitter page in one of the more astounding stories to involve a football analyst.
It all started last week on SVP and Russillo when Brown said he missed a block on purpose to get the struggling Scott Mitchell knocked out of the game against the Packers:
"We were playing Green Bay in Milwaukee. We were getting beat, 24-3, at that time and he just stunk up the place. He's throwing interceptions, just everything. So I looked at Kevin Glover, our All-Pro center and I said, 'Glove, that is it.' I said, 'I'm getting him out the game.' … So I got the gator arms on the guy at the last minute, he got around me, he hit Scott Mitchell, he did something to his finger … and he came out the game. Dave Krieg came in the game. We ended up losing that game, 27-24."
In the days since Brown's comments, the tape has revealed that Mitchell was hurt on a different play than Brown recalled, one where he actually appeared to put forth effort. So, Brown incriminated himself for no good reason except to tarnish his own reputation. If anything, he learned a harsh lesson about the dangers of being too forthcoming. Mitchell immediately blasted the ESPN analyst for his stunning revelation to Mike Florio on the Dan Patrick Show, then to USA Today, and again to CBS Sports. Brown has also appeared on First Take, SportsCenter, and done an interview with CBS Sports in the aftermath of the controversy. The two have apparently yet to chat about the matter, but that hasn't prevented a back and forth in the media as Mitchell fumes and Brown expresses remorse. Some of the highlights from those interviews…
Mitchell: “It just really hurt,” Mitchell said. “It was extremely disappointing. I’m really shocked by it, to be honest. Here’s a guy I’ve had in my house, I had a big dinner for the offensive linemen every year, he came to my house and ate dinner, I gave my offensive linemen gifts every year. For him to do that is just reprehensible, beyond words. It’s really disappointing, it really is painful. When you mess with my family, mess with my livelihood, mess with my health, it’s unacceptable. It’s B.S. I just wouldn’t do it to a teammate. I wouldn’t do it. If Lomas has a problem with me, come talk to me. To try to get someone hurt, it’s just mind-boggling.”
Brown: "If I'd thought about that, I wouldn't have done what I did. I just wasn't thinking. I reacted out of anger. I'm not going to run from it — I did it, and I'm going to own it."
Mitchell: "That was my first year in Detroit, so Lomas barely knew me," Mitchell said. "If he had a problem with me, he could have come to me, man to man, and said so. Be a man about it. But to mess with someone's livelihood like that, to mess with their family and their health, that's reprehensible."
Brown: "I don't blame him for reacting that way, but Scott knows a lot of things that went on too in Detroit. So I don't know what I can say now, I've already said it, it's out there. I expected him to react that way. If the shoe had been on the other foot I know I would have reacted that way. I don't blame Scott, hopefully we'll talk about it."
Brown: "It's one play out of the 18,000 that I regret. I'm not going to retract, I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. The one thing I can say is I should have been more tactful in how I said that. That was wrong on my part."
Mitchell: "I have to say it's the dumbest thing in the world for Lomas to admit something like this now. So maybe he had too many concussions."
If anything, that last point Mitchell makes may be the most relevant. Sure, Lomas Brown made a huge mistake. The fact that he would try to get his quarterback hurt and tank it on any play is an insult to his profession. Why Lomas Brown would reveal this controversy and drag his otherwise respected name through the mud is nonsensical. It has only subtracted from his reputation and created a needless story. All Brown did was voluntarily put his career under a cloud of suspicion.
It's unlikely ESPN will take any action against Brown. If anything, the controversy has helped his television career. Although he may lose trust with some viewers moving forward, Brown has appeared more on ESPN airwaves in the past week than at any previous time as a network analyst. Bristol loves nothing more than good controversy and debate that creates buzz, and Brown has gifted them a meaty story in the middle of a between-holidays down time.
But there's yet another layer to Lomas Brown's newfound fame. Thursday, Deadspin uncovered dozens of tweets from Brown to Twitter trolls that were unbecoming and offensive. Included in the batch were tweets like this:
Hours later, Brown posted a message on Twitter claiming he had no knowledge of the offensive tweets and did not approve of their sending, although he didn't come out and say he was hacked…
Just now aware of offensive tweets. Stunned. Those weren’t from me. Mistake for allowing in my name. Never saw/approved. So sorry
— Lomas Brown (@LomasBrown) December 27, 2012
Those tweets were on Brown's account for several days, how could he not know about them before they were brought to the wider public's attention? Was it a friend who sent the crass tweets? A relative? Is Brown just trying to save face after an embarrassing week with the "dog ate my homework" of Twitter excuses? Who knows. They're just more questions in a series of questions as to why Lomas Brown dove headfirst into a controversy of his own making.