The Philadelphia Eagles travel to Miami to face the Dolphins tomorrow, and they bring with them the running back Ronnie Brown, who currently holds third place on the Dolphins' career rushing list. The Eagles, however, do not seem to have the same running back that the Dolphins had for the first six years of Brown's career.
Brown was drafted out of Auburn University by the Dolphins with the second overall choice of the 2005 NFL Draft. At Auburn, he had split carries with Carnell Williams - who was drafted just three positions later by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Upon arriving in Miami, Brown was immediately made the starter while fellow Miami running back Ricky Williams served a four-game suspension, despite Brown holding out during training camp as his contract was negotiated. With Williams returning in Week 5, Brown was once again in a time-share role, and finished his rookie season with 207 carries for 907 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The 2006 season started with Williams being suspended for the entire year, and Brown being the featured runner in Miami. Brown would respond with the only 1,000 yard season of his career, carrying the ball 241 times for 1,008 yards and 5 touchdowns. He added an additional 276 yards on 33 receptions.
During the Dolphins' miserable 2007 season, Brown was the early highlight in Miami. Through the season's first six weeks, Brown was leading the league in yards from scrimmage and was on pace for over 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards on the season. However, in the Dolphins' Week 7 match up with the New England Patriots, Brown tore his ACL and was lost for the season.
The 2008 season would be the most notable of the Brown's career. Despite Ricky Williams being reinstated as the team's starting running back, Brown would be swapped back into the position before the team's Week 3 game with the Patriots. During this game, the Dolphins unleashed the unconventional "Wildcat" offense, in which Brown lined up at the standard quarterback position, and triggered an option type offense, with choices to keep the ball and run, hand the ball off to Williams on a jet sweep, or pass the ball. Brown finished the Patriots game with 113 yards on 17 carries, along with 9 yards on 1 catch, and a 19-yard touchdown pass. Brown's success in the Wildcat throughout the year would lead him to be named to the Pro Bowl after the season, his only time being selected to the All-Star game - he finished the year with 916 yards rushing on 214 carries with 10 touchdowns, 33 receptions for 254 yards, and 2-of-3 passes for 41 yards and the one touchdown.
In 2009, Brown started in nine of the Dolphins' first 11 games before breaking his foot against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was lost for the year. Despite only playing in 9 games, Brown still rushed for eight touchdowns, with 648 yards on 147 carries. He also threw for one score on 2-of-6 passing.
In his last year with the Dolphins, Brown rushed for 734 yards on 200 carries, scoring 5 times. He also had 242 yards on 33 receptions.
As an unrestricted free agent this past offseason, Brown signed a one-year., $1 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he has been a lost man in the Eagles offense, only having 19 carries so far in 2011. He has gained 67 yards, with one touchdown, on the ground, but has not caught a pass on the year. He also has one of the low-lights in the NFL this year, on a ridiculousness fumble, where Brown, as he was being tackled, attempted to throw the ball. The ball flew about a yard backwards, and the San Francisco 49ers recovered it, on a play where the Eagles had the ball on the 49ers 1-yard line.
After that play, Brown seemed to disappear in Philly. The Eagles even attempted to trade Brown to the Detroit Lions at the trade deadline, however, the deal was voided when Lions running back Jerome Harrison was discovered to have a brain tumor.
So now, with Brown returning to the place where he played the first six years of his career, albeit heading to the visitors' locker room, I asked JasonB from SB Nation's Bleeding Green Nation exactly what is the deal with Brown in Philly these days.
"It certainly hasn't helped Brown that LeSean McCoy has had the kind of year he's had and has led the league in rushing for a good part of the season. And certainly his inexplicable "fumble" earlier in the season didn't help. In fact, he didn't see a carry for a couple weeks after that and would have been gone if the trade to Detroit had not been voided.
"But otherwise, we've seen rookie Dion Lewis or even Chad Hall, who is mostly a WR, get more carries than him in games. So clearly he's out of favor. He has looked a little slow, which I think is a factor, but mostly for a team that doesn't really run the ball a ton, there's no reason to give him carries over LeSean McCoy."
Despite his struggles in Philadelphia, Brown has left many good memories in MIami - especially the Wildcat beat down of the Patriots. He is currently one of three runnign backs to have carried the ball over 1,000 times for the Dolphins (Ricky Williams, 1,509; Larry Csonka, 1,506; Brown, 1,128), and he sits third in yardage with 4,815 yards (Csonka, 6,737; Williams 6,436). He is also third on the team in rushing touchdowns with 36 (Csonka, 53; Williams, 48).