OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A commonplace scene performs out within the Baltimore Ravens locker room maximum days sooner than observe. Avid gamers trickle out and in, some take a seat being attentive to tune or scrolling thru telephones and others start converting from boulevard garments into soccer uniforms.
Andrews, a decent finish on tempo to damage Baltimore’s rookie receiving data on the place, may well be relaying a tale to Brown, who’s inspired coaches in 3 begins at proper take on. Or perhaps Brown’s appearing a humorous photograph to his faculty good friend. Regardless of the case, it’s uncommon for journalists to spend time within the locker room with out recognizing two of Baltimore’s maximum promising younger gamers slicing it up at their lockers.
However the speaking stops while you requested the chums about their dating. Awkward glances ensue. Brown appears to be like down on the ground after which over to Andrews out of the aspect of his eye, cautious of seeming too susceptible.
“I’m no longer going to lie, bro,” Brown says. “It’s roughly bizarre. Like, we’ve be figuring out each and every different since we had been 18. Like, it’s bizarre.”
Then he chuckles. It’s no longer unusual for males of their early 20s to battle explaining their emotions about the ones closest to them.
In equity to Brown, regardless that, his friendship with Andrews is relatively wild.
They had been teammates at Oklahoma, who each arrived in Norman in 2014 and redshirted in combination. They each entered the lineup in 2015 and was crew leaders in ‘17. Then they declared for the drafted round the similar time, employed the similar agent (Justin Schulman of Athletes First) and educated for the mix on the similar facility in Santa Ana, California.
They stayed in the similar rental complicated all over that point, only a few doorways aside.
Then got here the draft. The Ravens took Brown with the No. 83 total pick out within the 3rd around, and 3 picks later, they selected Andrews. The 2 faculty teammates arrived on the Beneath Armour Efficiency Middle to seek out their lockers proper subsequent to one another.
“We’re round each and every different always, guy,” Andrew stated.
They tease and chortle, however each and every former Quicker credit his faculty teammate with offering a soothing presence and treasured familiarity as they experience robust rookie seasons. Andrews and Brown have emerged as brilliant spots for the Ravens all over a rocky nine-game begin to the season, which leaves the crew at 4-Five getting into their bye week.
Only a yr in the past, Brown and Andrews had been strengthening their bond at Oklahoma. As leaders on a Most sensible Five crew, they received self assurance and adulthood in combination. However that they had their a laugh. Brown stated he steadily teased Andrews a couple of loss of swag, they usually’d ask individuals of the Oklahoma media corps to fee their suaveness.
Andrews made up our minds to movie Brown asleep on a trainer in the future to realize an higher hand within the struggle.
“He at all times stated he had extra swag than I did,” Andrews stated. “So I stuck him within the assembly room along with his arms in his pants, ft, raggedy garments. The entirety. So I had a video and posted it on Twitter.”
— Mark Andrews 8⃣9️⃣ (@Mandrews_81)
September 19, 2017
Brown stated he may inform faculty tales to embarrass his good friend however selected to take the top highway.
“I were given such a lot [stuff] dude,” Brown stated, smiling at Andrews.
After Oklahoma’s 2017 season ended with a loss to Georgia within the Faculty Soccer Playoff semifinals, Brown and Andrews signed with Athlete First. They didn’t select in combination, they stated, however it’s commonplace for brokers to recruit a couple of gamers from the similar faculty.
So, in combination, off they went to Santa Ana. The times coaching for the mix had been grueling, Brown and Andrews stated.
“Dude that point used to be this kind of blur,” Brown stated. “It used to be simply workout routines, workout routines once more, video video games and perhaps get one thing to devour.”
Too drained to do a lot else, Andrews and Brown would hand around in their rooms to play Famous person Wars Battlefront 2. Or Andrews would beat Brown at FIFA, a football online game. They usually had a cafe they’d attend with different gamers coaching on the facility: Mastro’s Steakhouse.
Getting ready for the mix represents a difficult time for plenty of gamers, who soar proper into full of life workout routines after lengthy faculty seasons and start to tension about their draft standing. Andrews stated a detailed good friend in the similar rental complicated made issues much less anxious.
“It used to be a grind,” Andrew stated, “however it’s been excellent simply having any individual that you recognize and that you just’re acquainted with right through the method.”
Since arriving in Baltimore, Brown and Andrews have persevered to lean on each and every different for companionship within the locker room and out of doors of it. They ate at Jimmy’s Well-known Seafood in combination and went fishing within the Chesapeake Bay, amongst different Baltimore-inspired actions.
Extra necessary for the Ravens, each gamers have equipped explanation why for hope at the box.
Whilst first-round rookie tight finish Hayden Hurst recovered from a foot surgical operation early this season, Andrews emerged as a playmaker within the passing recreation. Andrews racked up 244 receiving yards thru 9 video games and is final in at the crew report for rookie tight ends, which Maxx Williams set with 268 yards in 2015.
“Everyone is seeing what [Andrews] can do,” Ravens tight ends trainer Greg Roman stated this week. “He’s nonetheless a tender man, nonetheless finding out. He’s gaining very treasured revel in. All that have will iterate thru time with him – he’s that roughly man.”
After starting the season as a reserve, Brown began the previous 3 video games at proper take on instead of the injured James Hurst. He earned reward from scouting websites, analysts and coaches for his performances and has a powerful case to stay within the lineup even after Hurst will get wholesome.
“He’s rising as a tender guy,” offensive line trainer Joe D’Alessandris stated. “He’s finding out to be a professional. They did a stupendous activity out in Oklahoma with him additionally. … He’s come right here, realized a special recreation, a special taste, and he’s grasped it. He loves soccer. He loves to develop with methodology and basics and task. He’s beginning to blossom.”
In the meantime, Brown and Andrews have maintained their friendship, even whilst coping with the pains that include a primary NFL season. They’re so tight-knit that each joked about wanting time to escape from each and every different.
However Andrews plans to make use of his bye week to shuttle again to Norman and watch the Sooners face Oklahoma State on Saturday. And Brown?
“Yeah,” he stated , shrugging, “I’m going, too.”