Ralph Ross and Howard Brown inside the Baltimore Ravens team tent. The two Chicagoans have traveled around the country to watch family member, and all pro Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, since he was in college at Alabama. (Tim Penman/Medill)
By Tim Penman
For Howard Brown, the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago has brought back great memories of a year ago.
Seated in the audience of Radio City Music Hall in New York City, surrounded by family, Brown could sense some nerves. As picks 10 through 15 went by one by one, his companions kept shifting in their seats. Around the 16th pick, Brown got a phone call from his wife.
“C’mon down front, honey,” she said.
That’s when Brown knew. His nephew, C.J. Mosley, was about to be drafted No. 17 overall by the Baltimore Ravens.
Brown, a native Chicagoan dressed in an authentic purple Ravens No. 57 Mosley jersey, was beaming as he recounted what the draft has meant to him.
“Last year was totally surreal,” he said. “This year, I wanted to come back just to experience the draft in a different vain. I’m just kind of lying back and watching the crowd to see how they are enjoying it.
Taking in the sights of the Ravens’ team tent in the center of Draft Town with, Ralph Ross, Mosley’s cousin, Brown said he’s enjoyed what he’s seen on day two.
“I love the fact that every team has a tent,” Brown said. “Chicago always throws a great party, for sports and for entertainment.”
Mosley’s parents are from here and the family’s core is based in Chicago, Brown said. They have travelled all over the country to watch C.J. play since he was in high school. Brown said last year was especially fun, as the family watched Mosley, who attended Alabama, become the first rookie in Baltimore Ravens history to make the Pro Bowl. He also finished second for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Although the Ravens didn’t travel to Chicago during last season, Brown and other family members took trips to Indianapolis, Phoenix and Baltimore (twice) to catch their favorite linebacker in action.
“We got a lot of frequent flier miles traveling to watch him play,” Ross said with a chuckle.
Brown attended Alabama State University, graduating in 1976, and said he’s excited to see what the future holds for C.J.’s brother, Jamey, who is a freshman and promising talent at Alabama. Like C.J., Jamey is a linebacker.
“C.J. will say that his brother has a better work ethic than he does,” Brown said.
Just like they did a couple years ago for C.J., Brown and company have been traveling to Alabama to support Jamey. So far, Brown likes what he’s seen and predicts a bright future for his other linebacker nephew.
“Three to four years from now, we’ll look to be back in the draft auditorium [for Jamey],” he said.