Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 30 Days with Mike Brown

Chicago Bears, Mike Brown
Chicago Bears, Mike Brown / Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
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While the Chicago Bears will take the field for their first pre-season game tomorrow versus the Tennessee Titans, today marks just 30 days until the team's first regular-season game of the 2023 season. To celebrate Week 1's rapid approach, today's edition of Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff will focus on the life and career of the best player in franchise history to don the number 30, safety Mike Brown.

Chicago Bears add Mike Brown after dominant collegiate career at Nebraska

A native of Scottsdale, Arizona, Brown attended Saguaro High School, where he turned into perhaps the best football player that the program has ever seen. At Saguaro, a younger Brown played both in the defensive secondary and the offensive backfield. His best season came as a senior, where he helped his team win a state championship with over 2,000 yards on the ground and 31 touchdowns, and was selected as the state's top defensive back.

Following his high school career, Brown accepted a scholarship from The University of Nebraska, where he elected to focus on his defensive play. Brown was joining an elite team that, led by coach Tom Osborne, posted a cumulative 25-0 regular season record and won two National Championships before the Arizona native's arrival.

In his first season, Brown started at the cornerback position but would play safety and rover throughout his career. As a freshman, he played sparingly in nine games but was able to log his first collegiate interception. The team dropped two games during the year but won the Orange Bowl at the end of the season.

As a sophomore, Brown became a starter in the secondary, and helped the team post a 13-0 regular season record. The team went on to face Tennessee in a National Championship Orange Bowl, where his singular pass breakup and five total tackles helped the team win in blowout fashion. He was nominated as Second-Team All-Big 12 following the season. Unfortunately, after winning his third title in four years, Osborne retired from the program and was replaced with Frank Solich.

Under Solich, the team struggled to match their dominance from the previous regime, but in his junior season, Brown had a similarly productive season, despite the team's record dipping to 9-4. He logged only one interception on the year, his first at the safety position, but established himself as a leader in the secondary with a school record 102 total tackles, the most for a defensive back ever. At the end of the season, Brown was chosen again to the Second-Team All-Big 12.

As a senior, Brown had cemented himself as one of the best defenders in his conference and finished the year with five interceptions, the best of his four seasons. As a unit, Nebraska was able to return to the top of the national standing after posting a 12-1 record and capped off the season with a Fiesta Bowl victory. After the season, Brown was selected as a First-Team All-American player and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski Awards.

At the end of his collegiate career, Brown entered the 2000 NFL Draft, where he was selected as the 39th overall pick by the Chicago Bears. The safety was the second player drafted by the team after using a first-round pick on Brian Urlacher and was just the fifth defensive back selected.