Alex Brown milled with the crowd like he was at a family reunion. Wearing a red cap crooked on his 6’3″ frame, a cap that he borrowed from a sorority girl as a bribe, the former Florida Gators linebacker cracked jokes and took snapchats with anyone that asked…and there were a lot asking.
A decent crowd of students and fans had gathered around the perimeters of the SEC Nations set, the SEC Networks traveling pregame show.
Most were waiting to see Gator legend Tim Tebow (and had been waiting so long that they had to have skipped class), and were willing to do whatever it took to get close-like the girl who gare Brown her cap so he’d introduce her to the Hesiman Quarterback.
But for every shout of “Tebow!”, there was an echoing one of “Alex!”
“These are college kids and they’re super excited, they remember [me],” marveled a clearly humbled Brown. “Honestly I came out and I knew Tebow was in there, and I still got people saying ‘Alex, can we get a picture?’ And that’s pretty cool because when Tim Tebow came out, heck I wanted to go take a picture with him, I went and got my selfie…But it’s great, just seeing the fans, you still got Gator Nation man, Gator Nation is unbelievable. You come home and everybody still knows who you are and its sweet. You play for the Gators and they love you.”
Brown amassed 161 tackles during his Gator career and holds the Florida record 33 quarterback sacks-enough to leave quite an impression as evidenced by the fans joking around with the linebacker that helped shape their childhood love for that Florida Gators.
There was even one group of girls, about ten total, who chanted his name and screamed “We came just to see you! You’re our favorite player!”
This sort of reaction, even nearly 14 years removed from his last game as a Gator, blows Alex away. He went on to play I that NFL with that Chicago Bears and says, “I get [a reaction] with the Bears, but not to this extent.”
Then the fans broke down the game plan for Saturday’s game versus the Tennessee Volunteers-well the pregame anyways.
Brown came to town to act as the Honorary Mr. Two-Bits for Saturday’s. As he chatted with the fans who still love their All-American, they gave him advice on proper arm movements, timing and of course the iconic outfit-yellow button up, seersucker pants and striped Gator tie. He’ll be prepared though as he’s been practicing.
“Yeah, in the bathroom a little bit.”
That’s most likely not where George Edmondson, the original Mr. Two-Bits, would practice but Alex is ready to emulate everything else about Edmondson’s practice.
“I do remember, him getting hyped, I do remember that. We didn’t get to always see him doing it, but you do know who he was and you appreciate what he did because he helped us do our job, me especially playing defense. I mean when the crowds in it, it’s a lot better out there. We want them to be nuts when we’re out there.”
His own shot at this moment has been a long time coming for Brown, who’s been dreaming of this honor ever since the Gators first started doing Honorary Mr. Two-Bits.
“I hoped I would, and I knew I’d say yes in a heart beat, it’s just a matter of, I’m not stuck up like ‘oh they’re gonna call me’, I’m just hoping that they do and if they do I’m gonna say yes. It’s a cool thing. No question, I’m there, everything else stopping. I’m gonna do it.”
With that enthusiasm, Alex Brown is hyped and ready to return home to The Swamp and lead his fans/family in their pregame cheer like only he can.