Conq Football Great Honored at Inaugural NJCAA Foundation Hall of Fame
The NJCAA announced the inaugural 2021 NJCAA Foundation Hall of Fame class on May 7. Former Conquistador great, running back Larry Brown was announced as an inductee of the class to be recognized at the virtual NJCAA Foundation Awards event on June 24.
The Clairton, Pennsylvania, native spent two years playing football for the Conquistadors in 1965-1966. During Brown’s sophomore year, he was named to the KJCCC First Team as well as an NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American.
“I am so excited that Larry Brown is being recognized by the NJCAA Foundation in this first Hall of Fame Class,” said Conquistador Athletic Director Jake Ripple. “He is definitely one of the all-time greats of Conquistador Football. Obviously I am a little biased in this, but I believe Larry Brown and Steve Tasker are both former Conqs that should be in the NFL Hall of Fame. The NJCAA obviously sees the greatness of Larry Brown and are recognizing him in this amazing first class.”
After his time in Dodge City, Brown went on to start at Kansas State from 1967-1968, leading the Wildcats in rushing in 1968. He was taken in the eighth round of the 1969 NFL/AFL draft as the 191st overall pick by the Washington Redskins, now Washington Football Team.
Brown spent his entire eight-year career playing in Washington, after being noticed and drafted by all-time great, Vince Lombardi. Brown earned a Pro-Bowl selection his rookie season after rushing for 888 yards and four touchdowns to go with 302 receiving yards.
In total, Brown was named to the Pro Bowl team in each of his first four seasons in the league. Just one year later, in 1970, Brown became the first player in Washington history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a campaign where he led the league in rushing with 1,125 yards to earn himself First-Team All-Pro honors.
Brown followed his 1970 season with Second-Team All-Pro honors in 1971, only to be named the 1972 NFL MVP a year later thanks to 1,216 yards on the ground despite missing two games to injury.
To this day, he is the only Kansas State football player to ever win the award. That same season, Brown led his Washington squad to a Super Bowl appearance where they lost to the “Perfect Season” Miami Dolphins by a score of 14-7.
While Coach Lombardi passed away during Brown’s second season, Lombardi drastically changed the course of Brown’s career.
During Brown’s rookie season, Lombardi noticed his running back reacting slightly late to snaps early in the year. He quickly had Brown’s hearing tested only to find out that Larry Brown was slightly deaf in his right ear. Lombardi pushed the NFL to allowed Washington to mount a hearing aid into his helmet which helped the promising young running back to jumpstart his remarkable NFL career.
When Brown retired from the NFL in 1976, he retired as the Washington Redskins’ all-time leader in rushing yards (5,875) and touchdowns (55).
According to the Football Register, only Jim Brown, Gale Sayers and O.J. Simpson averaged more yards per year in both rushing and receiving over the course of their career than Brown who averaged 723 rushing yards and 310 receiving yards per season.
To this day, the #43 is considered “untouchable” amongst the Washington organization, along with the likes of #7 (Joe Theismann) and #44 (John Riggins).
Brown currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is still very much active within the Washington Football Team’s alumni events. Additionally, he has stayed active in several non-profit organizations in the area including the Prince George’s County Special Olympics, the National Council on Disability, Friends of the National Zoo Advisory Committee, the Coalition for the Homeless, and the Capital Children’s Museum.