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Article on Monty Brown

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Well, since you don't feel like posting it here, I guess I'll have to.

Gridder becomes a grappler: Brown goes from the NFL to pro wrestling




Provided photo

Monty Brown, a former Buffalo Bills special teams player and linebacker, has achieved his childhood dream of building a professional wrestling career.

[Day in Photos]



Monty Brown

Who: Montaque "Monty" Brown, professional wrestler and former NFL linebacker with Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots.


Height/weight: 6 feet/267 pounds.


Age: 34


Personal: Single. Lives in Saginaw, Mich.


College: Was a Kodak and GTE Academic All-American at Ferris State.


To watch: TNA's Xplosion, a one-hour weekly syndicated show on the Empire Sports Network, Sundays, 10 p.m.; TNA's Impact, a family-oriented magazine-style show, Fridays, 3 p.m., Fox Sports Net.


'Rasslers and tacklers

Monty Brown is the latest in a long line of personalities linking the worlds of professional football and professional wrestling.


Coach George Allen once offered Andre the Giant a contract to play for the Washington Redskins and Vince McMahon, promoter extraordinaire for the World Wrestling Federation, started the colorful XFL, which went defunct.


Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Steve "Mongo" McMichael, who played for the '85 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, became a WCW star after his retirement from football.


Superstar Bill Goldberg had a five-year NFL career on the defensive line for the Falcons, Rams and Panthers, and Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, played a year in the Canadian Football League for the Calgary Stampede. Tito Santana and Lex Luger also played in the CFL.


In 1995, Kurt Angle had a tryout at fullback for the Steelers under Tom Donahoe, the Bills' current general manager, before going on to win an Olympic gold medal and launching a lucrative professional wrestling career.


This past summer, Brock Lesnar did it in reverse, trying to make the roster of the Minnesota Vikings as a defensive tackle after starring as a pro wrestler. He made a good effort but was cut.


And who can forget the scores of NFL players making cameos at wrestling extravaganzas coast-to-coast, eager accomplices to scriptwriters who never seem to run dry on ideas? From William "The Refrigerator" Perry to Kevin Greene to Lawrence Taylor to Reggie White.


Even female pro wrestling star Stacy Keibler has an NFL tie. She's a former cheerleader for the Baltimore Ravens.


— Leo Roth


Leo Roth

Staff writer


(November 14, 2004) — Steve Tasker was channel surfing one night when his finger stopped on the Empire Sports Network.


Flashing before his eyes was Monty Brown, his former teammate with the Buffalo Bills, hurdling himself through the air and crashing into an opponent.


Only this wasn't a replay of Brown's days as a hard-hitting linebacker and special teams ace for the Bills from 1993-95.


It was Brown today in his new career as a professional wrestler, taking on all comers as The Alpha Male, a king-of-the-jungle character starring weekly on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.


"Monty was an action figure," said Tasker, a Pro Bowler who ran alongside Brown on Buffalo's kamikaze squads. "I had lost touch with him and all of sudden, there he is on TV."


After a four-year NFL career that saw him play in two Super Bowls, one with the Bills in 1993 and one with the New England Patriots in 1996, Brown is living out his second dream.


Actually, becoming a pro wrestler was his biggest goal as a kid growing up in Bridgeport, Mich.


"This isn't something I did out of necessity, it's something I do because I love it," he said by phone after a recent show taping at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.


"I've watched wrestling since I was 5 or 6 years old. Even when I was in Buffalo, when people talked to me, my conversation to warm up was to talk pro wrestling. When I was asked if I could meet anybody in the world who would it be, I'd say Ric Flair. As a child, I didn't have football posters and football cards, I had pro wrestlers on my wall."


Rising star


That kind of passion comes through in Brown's entertaining work for TNA. The relatively young circuit rivals the more established WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) but counts legendary pro wrestling figures Rowdy Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes in celebrity roles.


The leopard-skin-clad Brown can been seen on TNA shows each week on Empire and Fox Sports Net, and on pay-per-view events that began this month.


"Monty is without a doubt one of the up-and-coming stars in the industry. He's got the full package — the charisma, the body and the acting ability of The Rock," said Brad Bernstein of Trifecta Entertainment, TNA's promoter, referring to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the first African American to hold the WWF (now WWE) championship and who is now a movie actor. "He's really the next big thing."


Not everyone knew of Brown's pro wrestling aspirations when he was with the Bills. Such as coach Marv Levy, who kept Brown as the only rookie free agent on his 1993 championship team.


Still, nobody who knew Brown is shocked by the rise of the Alpha Male. Even back then, he had a sculpted body, perfect posture and a smile Madison Avenue could love, and he body-slammed people with his engaging personality.


"I liked Monty a lot," Levy said. "More power to him. He was a good guy. He had a very good work ethic and very good athletic ability. Even in the locker room he had a fantastic physique, so I think he's translated that over to wrestling. I didn't know he had that talent or aspiration."


Actually, Brown listed pro wrestling as something he enjoyed in his bio in the Bills media guide. To pass the time in the locker room, he acted out moves with teammates and fellow pro wrestling fans — when Levy wasn't watching.


Come on, who hasn't pretended to be Hulk Hogan or Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka or The Junk Yard Dog?


"We'd joke around in the room because we're all living an extended adolescence," said Tasker about players on the Bills imitating Steve "Stone Cold" Austin or Jesse "The Body" Ventura. "Monty had this roar he'd make in the weight room that was hilarious. He was a super guy.


"It's just nice to see someone doing something at that level. Not that he's saving the world but he's doing something a lot of guys wish they could do. And he's achieved both his dreams. How many guys get to say that?"


Brown was a first-team Kodak Little All-American and GTE Academic All-American his senior year at Ferris State, where he set school records for tackles (584), interceptions (16) and fumble recoveries (nine).


During his time with the Bills, Buffalo was loaded at linebacker, but Brown eventually earned six starts by his third season and made 93 tackles for a 10-6 playoff team. As a rookie at spring mini-camp, he remembers attending one of quarterback Jim Kelly's famous parties.


"I got to his house and here's Joe Theismann, Chris Berman, Fabio, Joe Pesci, all kinds of people and here I am, a snot-nosed kid still in college. It was unbelievable."


So was playing as a rookie in a Super Bowl, Buffalo's record fourth in a row. Playing with the likes of Kelly, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and Cornelius Bennett was special, Brown said.


"That team, with all of those veterans, I couldn't have asked to walk into a better situation," he said. "I mean, those guys knew how to win. Just being involved with that and the magic they created, for me to come there and be accepted was special."


Brown played for the Patriots in 1996 and made seven starts for Bill Parcells, but after an ankle injury needed surgery, he came to a personal crossroads.


"I decided I'd do what I said I'd do when I was 6 years old and that was to be a pro wrestler," Brown said.


How does one do that?


If you're Brown, you grow even more serious about bodybuilding. The 6-foot Brown played in the NFL at 233 pounds but he's now listed at 267.


You go to professional wrestling school. Brown learned to jump from turnbuckles and not wind up in the hospital at facilities in Chicago and Detroit. You hone your act on the many minor-league pro wrestling circuits and supplement your income working other jobs. Brown ran a company making T-shirts.


His break in the pro wrestling game was landing with TNA.


"We brought him in initially a year and a half ago," Bernstein said. "He was almost too new to the business and it didn't work out. But since the late winter, he's been a major player. When he came back, he was just better. It's an interesting trade, pro wrestling. The physicality and the athleticism obviously was there for Monty, but the acting skills, the ability to sell a story ... some guys it takes two months, some guys 12 years. Monty was actually a very quick study."


Good to be bad


Brown has always liked pro wrestling's "bad guys" and while his Alpha Male character, ruler of the Serengeti, is a villain, he's a likable villain whose popularity is growing.


"The Alpha Male thing really started back in college," said Brown, who has been a guest on ESPN2's Cold Pizza and Fox's The Best Damn Sports Show Period. "That football field was my territory. I've just taken it to another level with this."


As a wrestler, the 34-year-old Brown has a linebacker's mentality when it comes to training and performing.


"With me, it's different but similar," he said when asked to compare his two crafts. "I'm still a linebacker and I still take that intensity out there. But I had to kind of un-train, as well. The last thing you want to do as a defensive player in football is fall on your back, but it's a big part of this business.


"I had to learn to give myself up. That's something you just don't do in football."


As for the physical demands, Brown said, the day after a wrestling show taping feels like Monday morning in the NFL. The scripts are make-believe, but the pain is not.


"You still get super sore," said Brown, who has suffered two concussions and a separated shoulder in the ring. "People think the chairs are fake, that the tables are fake. Well, those are real steel chairs, the tables aren't cut, and the falls you take are real falls. The average person could not do this."


How long will the un-average Brown keeping doing it? Like The Rock, he wants to act in movies. Marriage, kids and coaching junior high football are also in his plans.


"I'd like to take TNA to astronomical levels," Brown said. "I'll stop living my dreams and do the regular-life thing someday, but I've got too much to do yet."


Spoken like a true Alpha Male.


[email protected]

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