|Les Brown's unlikely road to the NFL will continue Monday at Dolphins minicamp. (MB sports management/)|
The true story: Les Brown was a college dropout from Utah who had given up a small-time college basketball career to be a numbers cruncher for a private equity firm in Florida.
Unfulfilled, Brown quit his job and went back to school at Westminster College in Utah. It was there his life changed forever. His younger brother, Braden, was an offensive tackle at BYU, and during a trip to check out pro trainers, the elder Brown was sized up by a man named Chad Ikei.
Said Brown (via The Salt Lake Tribune): "He looked at me and said, 'You've got the rest of your life to work. You could be a great tight end.' "
Brown hadn't so much as picked up a football in years, but when it was clear Ikei wanted to make him a personal project, Brown bought into the idea.
He dropped out of school a second time, this time to chase the unlikely dream of playing in the NFL. He moved to Oahu, Hawaii, and trained relentlessly with 11 other NFL prospects.
"It was a three-month boot camp," he says. "It was a grind. By the time I left, I felt strong and fast, and I was up to 240 pounds. With a strict diet, I cut my body fat in half."
From Oahu, Brown headed to the BYU pro day on March 29, where he became the nobody who blew everybody away. He had the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.43), the best vertical jump (39 inches) and the top broad jump (10 feet, 3 inches).
Not bad for an accountant.
"It was an overwhelming feeling for all of us," Brown said of him and his family. "When I quit school, some of my friends thought I was foolish, chasing some kind of high school dream. They thought I had a better shot at hitting the lottery than making the NFL. But I was doing it for me. I'd always wondered, 'What if I had played football?'
"All I wanted was a chance," he said. "When I started on this journey, I never thought this would happen."
Several NFL teams began to court Brown, but he chose the Miami Dolphins, signing a three-year minimum deal that included a signing bonus.
Brown will report to the Dolphins' minicamp Monday, where he'll undoubtedly face an uphill battle to make the team. But are you really going to count out the accountant now?
"I know the hard work is just beginning," Brown said. "I'm excited and humbled. I've got a lot of work in front of me. My goal now is to make the Dolphins look like the smartest team around for giving me a shot."