On August 27, before the start of the 2012 regular NFL season, Josh Brown found himself out of work and with no team to call home. In fact, he had already been with three teams, including the Jets who were sending the kicker packing with no future hopes or plans.
His career was a good one by NFL standards, but the kicker position in this league is saturated with guys who could take your spot at any given time on a team. Out of college at Nebraska, where he finished third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 315 points, he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2003 NFL Draft. He played with the Seahawks until the end of the 2007 season when his contract and franchise tag expired.
After St. Louis and Seattle both courted the contract-less Brown, the kicker decided to move on to the Rams organization that made him the highest paid kicker in the NFL in 2008. Brown kicked for the Rams through the 2011 season. He was cut in April of 2012, in the final year of his $14.2 million dollar deal.
The kicker did not stay homeless for long. The New York Jets quickly picked Brown up from Free Agency in order to compete against Nick Folk in training camp. Brown stayed with the Jets until the end of camp, when the team let him go August at the conclusion of the preseason.
Unfortunately for Josh, most teams already had their kickers in place to start the season. Final roster cuts had been made and Brown was left out in the cold for the first time in his career. The kicker was forced to watch from home as the NFL season ticked by and began to dwindle down to final stretch.
Just when all hope seemed to be lost, the Cincinnati Bengals lost their starting kicker Mike Nugent to a calf injury and they wanted to bring Brown in along with Neil Rackers and Billy Cundiff to fight for the job.
Brown beat the other two kickers out for the position and was signed by the Bengals on December 6, after several months on the outside looking in. Since joining Cincinnati, he has played in four games and hit 11 of his 12 field goal attempts.
Josh Brown’s performance with his new team has been good enough to be recognized around the league. Brown has been awarded with AFC Special Teams Player of the Month award for December. This, after a season that the kicker wasn’t even sure he would play in. It has been a long, choppy road, but Brown seems to have finally found his place in NFL.