Matt Brown may be able to thank a passport snafu for his first crack at the National Football League.
As told by Philly.com, the former Temple running back was scheduled to fly to Saskatchewan on Tuesday to sign with the Roughriders of the Canadian Football League, but a problem with his passport kept him off the plane. That in turn delayed his official signing and meant he was still available to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they called Wednesday morning. He was on a plane to Tampa hours later, returning to the spot where he had participated in a rookie mini-camp on a tryout contract a few weeks earlier.
Brown got the most out of his 5-5, 165-pound frame at Temple, both on offense and in the kick return game. As a senior, he was named the Big East Special Teams Player of the Year after registering 790 yards and a touchdown on 31 kickoff returns and 241 yards on 17 punt returns. Brown also ranked third on the Owls’ squad with 372 yards and four touchdowns on 60 carries out of the backfield. In all, he was good for 143.4 all-purpose yards per game last fall, the top mark in the conference.
Brown finished his collegiate career ranked second in Temple history with 5,272 all-purpose yards, third with 22 rushing touchdowns and fourth with 10 100-yard rushing performances. He also owns the school’s single-season record for punt return average (14.2 in 2012) and the single-game standard for kickoff return yards (227 vs. Louisville last fall).
Brown started 10 games during his sophomore and junior seasons combined, rushing for 830 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010 and 915 yards and six scores in 2011. As a junior, he tied the Temple record with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Kent State. In 2009, he joined Bernard Pierce (now of the Baltimore Ravens) as the only freshman in school history to rush for 100 yards in a game.
The addition of Brown gives the Buccaneers six running backs/fullbacks on the field for offseason workouts, as he joins Doug Martin, Mike James, Brian Leonard, Michael Smith and Erik Lorig. The Bucs also have the rights to RB/KR Jeff Demps but his future in football and track has not yet been resolved.