Journey Brown No Longer Able to Play Football
Penn State running back Journey Brown’s football career is over, per head coach James Franklin.
In the opening statement of his Wednesday night press conference, Franklin said Brown will “no longer be able to play football.” Franklin confirmed the abrupt end to Brown’s football career is not COVID-19 related.
While Brown was not available to the media for comment, Franklin spoke on his behalf and said the 2019 Cotton Bowl Classic Offensive MVP has been informed of the news regarding his playing career.
“Journey has handled this unbelievably well,” Franklin said.
The future of Brown’s playing career was first put into question in early September when a medical condition came to the attention of the football program. Doctors recently confirmed Brown’s playing career is over.
In the 2019 season, Brown was the Nittany Lions’ leading rusher with 890 yards. He also ran for a team-best 12 touchdowns and 6.9 yards per carry during the 2019 campaign.
Aside from the loss of Brown, Penn State already lost running back Noah Cain for the season due to an undisclosed injury. In both of their absences, the running back corps has struggled mightily.
The Nittany Lions are 94th in the country in rushing offense at 129.3 yards per game. Quarterback Sean Clifford is the team’s leading rusher at 52 carries for 150 yards and one touchdown.
With both Brown and Cain out, Devyn Ford has been the starting running back the last two weeks. On 37 carries, Ford has rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Freshman running backs Caziah Holmes and Keyvone Lee have been limited in both carries and production through the first three games of the season. On 14 carries, Holmes has logged just 45 yards while Lee has 38 yards on seven carries.
As Penn State has started 0-3 for the first time since 2001, the loss of Brown to the team’s running back corps has proven to be a difficult blow to overcome. Not to mention, the defense has felt the loss of star linebacker Micah Parsons, who opted out of the season in August.
With Brown’s career appearing to have come to a close, first year offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca will likely continue with Ford as the starting running back and Clifford receiving more carries than usual (17 or more carries in each of Penn State’s first three games).
Penn State travels to Nebraska on Saturday to face a Cornhuskers team which ranks 78th in the nation in rushing defense at 181.5 yards given up per game.
Though Nebraska’s porous run defense may allow the Nittany Lions to run wild in Lincoln, the loss of Brown for a program searching for the right answer at the running back position is a significant blow.
Andrew Destin is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.