Trent Brown made his return from the injured reserve list on Sunday in a win over the Cleveland Browns, and for the New England Patriots right tackle, there couldn't have been a more inspiring opponent.
Brown said Tuesday that he gave some thought to retirement last year after a problem with a pre-game IV before a game against the Browns put him in a Cleveland hospital and nearly cost him his life.
"To kind of come back and play against the Browns, I thought was pretty cool, because I almost died before we played them last year," Brown said. "When I was laid out on the floor, I definitely thought about my kids. I even thought about retiring, honestly. It was that scary. I was about to be done with it. Then after it kind of settled down a bit, I was fine."
According to Brown, he nearly went into cardiac arrest at the time. Air was accidentally introduced into his bloodstream with a pre-game IV, and he was hospitalized for three days beginning on Nov. 1, 2020. Then a Las Vegas Raider, Brown had just been reinstated to play from the reserve/COVID-19 list when the mishap occurred.
"That was different. Coming off of COVID and then just expecting to play a game, and then make it all the way to the city, to the game, to the locker room," Brown said. "And I'm going through my normal routine, getting an IV, and to just pass out and almost going into cardiac arrest was crazy."
Brown returned more than a month later to make three December starts for the Raiders, but he still wasn't right physically. He didn't feel completely well for eight months, a timeline that would place his full recovery around early July, just weeks before the Patriots opened training camp.
"To actually fully recover, it probably took about eight months to feel normal again," Brown said. "And to actually start making steps, as far as improvement, to feel like myself again on the field after eight months."
Between a bout with COVID-19, the IV mishap and a calf injury this year, he's now missed 19 of 26 games since the beginning of 2020. This year, Brown sustained a calf injury in the Patriots' season-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins, and was designated inactive for several weeks before being placed on injured reserve in October.
"I wanted to get back sooner, but had a setback during the Tampa week," Brown said.
The massive Brown (6-foot-8, 380 pounds) has outlasted all expectations as a seventh-round draft choice by the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, selected just 12 picks before the draft ended. Now in his seventh season, he's made 62 career starts and earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2019 with the Raiders. New England traded for Brown in March for his second stint with the club.
Brown and the Patriots play on the road against the Falcons Thursday night.
And nobody will be happier to suit up than Brown.