Joey Browner was one of the greatest safeties in NFL history. He played in Minnesota from 1983-1991. Some of his career highlights include: 3x First-team All-Pro (1987,1988, 1990), Second-team All-Pro (1989),6x Pro-Bowl (1985-1990), 37 career interceptions in Minnesota, One of the 50 Greatest Vikings, Minnestoa Vikings Ring of Honor, Minnesota Vikings 40th anniversary team. It’s a shame he is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet.
Joey Browner Q&A
I recently sat down with Joey Browner discussing his career and his time in Minnesota. Here are some questions that I asked him.
Q: With all these great numbers; why aren’t you in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
A: “It hasn’t been my calling, they can’t erase history. The history is there, it’s just a matter of matching it with what they call the Hall of Fame. The game is what it is; and for me the rules and the different things that have been established now without me playing during that era to now how I played changes would not have been made. “
Q: Your family has had more players in the NFL than any other family; including the Matthews. Your brother Ross, Jimmy, Keith, and even your nephew Max Starks. How did growing up with your brothers help you competitively and also with your career?
A: “The older two that you mentioned never got to play with, only thing we had a chance to do is see them or hear them on the radio. So we didn’t get a chance, but my brother Keith I played against him on the side of the house, rough and tumble.
My brother Willard was the Quarterback, he handed the ball to us or threw it to us. My brother Gerald who passed away 15 years ago, he was 150lbs, when we were little kids we were tackling on the side of the house and playing with them, that was the size of the running backs we had to compete against in competition by the time we reached high school.
My mother also came out there, she struck us out and took the bat from us, and that’s why I didn’t pitch; she kept on hitting the ball and she was the one who inspired me to play football. She chose my number and my position when I went from High School to College with Coach John Robinson. She called him up and asked him what position I could play the quickest for him; and needed help in; and he said defensive back, so that’s how I became a defensive back.”
Q: Describe being inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor?
A: “It meant that I did something right and that my peers at the time they were the ones that voted me in to the Pro-Bowl in Hawaii. They were the ones, the offensive players of the NFC voted me to represent them in the All-Star game. It has been the culmination of the opportunity to be on the field; and in the end life is good. “
Q: You were part of the greatest draft class in the NFL history in 1983; with guys like Dan Marino, John Elway, and Jim Kelly. You were drafted 19th overall. what was you expectation going into the draft, and did you know the Vikings were interested in you?
A: “My expectation going into the draft was that I wasn’t going to get drafted. Because my brother Willard did not get drafted coming out of college; but he was drafted by the White Sox to pitch, for me I was just ecstatic that I got to go to Southern Cal for 4 years and I was able to graduate.
I wasn’t expecting to get drafted at all because my brother Ross was drafted number 1 by the Bengals and my brother Jimmy was drafted in the 12th round by the Bengals; so for me I was just glad to finish school and looking forward to what was going to happen, and at that time the USFL was establishing itself and they were going to start their season the following year so I was already in the regional local draft so I wasn’t expecting to get drafted at all. “
I appreciated Joey sitting down with me to talk about his career; he definitely deserves to get the call in his lifetime into the Pro Football Hall of Fame!