DETROIT – Early in the morning, around 6 a.m. PT, John Brown’s phone rang.
It was her older sister who broke the terrible news that her younger sister, Yolandra “Loni” Brown, had died suddenly on August 31.
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An hour later that same morning, he received a group message notification from his eldest son, Equanimeous St. Brown, telling his parents and two siblings more disheartening news: he had been dismissed by the Green Bay Packers.
âI just want to let you know that I have been released,â Equanimeous wrote. “Don’t worry too much about me. I’m fine.”
It was also the 57th birthday of Miriam, John’s wife.
âIt was the worst day of my life,â recalls John.
He couldn’t get out of bed for two days.
Finally, John has recovered and is now preparing to head to Lambeau Field for Monday Night Football when the Detroit Lions face the Packers (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The contest marks an unexpected divisional rivalry within the family, with Amon-Ra St. Brown being a promising rookie receiver for the Lions while Equanimeous, now signed to the Green Bay practice squad, looks to build a active list of the NFL.
âIt’s a good feeling, we’re proud of them,â said John Brown.
The game also represents the culmination of the vision Brown had for his sons, as the two-time former Mr. Universe and three-time Mr. World groomed his three boys – Equanimeous, Osiris and Amon-Ra – for a national scene. at an early age.
âIt’s going to be drugs. Exciting, âAmon-Ra told ESPN. âObviously I would like my brother to be on the active roster so that I could play against him, but even still, I have watched my brother play Green Bay for the past three years and I finally get the chance to play against Aaron Rodgers,â guys i have. watched my whole lifeâ¦ Davante Adams, a great catcher, and facing my brother is going to be drugs.
Link of brothers
Although they live almost 300 miles from each other and have different schedules with their respective teams, Amon-Ra and Equanimeous found time to bond during training camp.
They often participated in video games such as Call of Duty or FIFA, rarely speaking football and using this time to relax.
“The Packers, their schedule is a little different than the Lions,” Amon-Ra noted. âHe would come out earlier than us, like most days. He was telling me to keep going and I would still have meetings, so just little things like that.
Equanimeous brought up football when news of a Lions training fight traveled to Green Bay via social media. On the first day of Lions’ padded practices, during the special teams period, a free-field blocking exercise pitted Amon-Ra against fellow corner rookie Ifetu Melifonwu. Neither refusing to back down, the action ignited and the punches eventually flew.
âYou have to defend yourself,â Equanimeous said. âSome coaches don’t mind fighting, some coaches don’t like it, but it’s football. It is a physical sport. S — is coming. He’s my brother so I know he will stop at nothing.
Growing up in the same household in Orange County, Calif., Equanimeous and their younger brother Osiris, a former Stanford University wide receiver, are said to dominate young Amon-Ra in any sport.
âThis genre has always fueled its competitiveness,â Osiris said of Amon-Ra. “I feel like I’m around us all the time, we’ve always been older and stronger, so he always had to push harder to try to keep up with us, whether it was weightlifting, basketball or other.”
Fight for respect
Two days after making his NFL debut against the San Francisco 49ers, Amon-Ra used his day off to explore downtown Detroit with his parents and visiting girlfriend.
âIt was like another preseason game, just more fans,â Amon-Ra said of the Week 1 loss.
Lions are bred on Amon-Ra. He’s been targeted by quarterback Jared Goff four times against the 49ers, capturing two passes for 23 yards, but that could change in week two.
“Look, Amon-Ra [St. Brown] did a good job, but it was Amon-Ra’s first football game in the NFL against a very good team, good defense, âsaid Lions coach Dan Campbell. âSo he’s no different from all these other guys. It’s something to build from. I thought he was really competitive. I thought he had fought. There are so many little details that he has to clean up in his game and so are [Quintez] Cephus and really all these guys.
Things are different for Equanimeous in Green Bay. He is on the practice squad having been on the squad for the past three seasons. While Amon-Ra is on the field Monday night, Equanimeous will have to watch from the side or in a booth.
âEvery day is a reminder,â Equanimeous said. âEvery time I go to my locker it’s in a different place so I just have to prove myself and work harder. All I can do is play until they give me my chance again.
It’s also a reminder to Amon-Ra that – although reaching the NFL has been the brothers’ lifelong passion – football is a job too.
“I was also pissed off when it happened, but it still makes me work hard because it’s a business here at the next level and next year they will always find someone to replace me, whether it’s for write someone or take someone, swap someone, âAmon-Ra said.
“In any case, we are winners”
Detroit (0-1) has a big opportunity ahead of him to give a seemingly vulnerable Green Bay team a second straight loss. The Packers haven’t started 0-2 since 2006, which is the second longest active streak behind the New England Patriots.
Green Bay lost 38-3 to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, but Rodgers, the reigning MVP, won seven straight games on Monday Night Football as a starter.
The Lions have lost four straight games at Green Bay, but they have a few new fans cheering them on with the youngest of the St. Brown brothers now in the mix.
âFor me, it’s clear. I support the Detroit Lions. There’s no question about it, âsaid Miriam with a smile. “Because [Amon-Ra] plays and the other does not play. It’s simple.”
âEither way, we’re a winner,â added John.