07/21/2012 6:18 PM
NEW ORLEANS –Breaking a record in sports may leave a player with the most accomplished feeling. Breaking a record when you’re a rookie leaves a player feeling even more accomplished.
This season, rookie defensive lineman Xavier ‘X-Man’ Brown was traded to the New Orleans VooDoo on May 28, 2012 and now has a total of 10 sacks, which is second among all rookies and fourth overall in the AFL. The rookie record for total number of sacks is 13, and Brown is eyeing that mark.
“I feel good that I am among the top in rookies, but I want to be better and work harder because I don’t think I’m doing well enough,” Brown said. “I think I can get the 13. I think I can do it, but I don’t want to jinx myself.”
Since Brown’s arrival, the VooDoo defense has improved by getting after the quarterback with the team registering 13 sacks in the six games he has been in New Orleans. With Brown on the defensive line, the team is now 4-3 and 3-1 when he records a sack. Brown has also recorded a sack in four of his last five games.
“Getting Xavier was a huge trade for us,” VooDoo Head Coach Pat O’Hara said. “We got him on the day of the deadline, and we felt very fortunate.”
Prior to Brown’s arrival to the VooDoo, he was assigned to the Chicago Rush in February where he had six sacks – one more than the entire VooDoo team upon his arrival. With his arrival, O’Hara and the team have noticed a difference on the defensive line side.
“Xavier has played a huge role for us, “O’Hara said. “Even the guys around him have stepped up. As a result, we now have a better, more consistent pass rush, which was something we were lacking.”
As far as Brown’s mentality goes when sacking a player, he concentrates on beating the person in front of him and getting passed the tackle.
Although Brown is happy is to be in New Orleans playing for the VooDoo, the trade was a bit of a surprise to him.
“Being traded kind of caught me off guard, but everything happens for a reason and it was a good move for me,” Brown said.
Once Brown came to New Orleans, he knew he would be able to fit right in with everyone on the team and experience the team chemistry.
“I like it here,” Brown said. Everyone on the team is more together here and everyone works together.”
Brown may be among the rising stars in the AFL, but he has a different side of the story to his past playing days.
When Brown was in high school at Brentwood High School in New York, he didn’t start playing football until he was a senior. For not playing football until senior year, Brown was named Second Team All-State and All-Conference. Brown also played and lettered on the basketball team.
“I was good at football, but I didn’t have the technique at first,” Brown said. “My only job was to go after the quarterback.”
After finishing high school, Brown was offered a scholarship from C.W. Post of Long Island (Division II) in New York. He enjoyed his best season as a senior, finishing with 8.5 sacks for 58 yards. Brown was also a two time All-American player during his junior and senior seasons.
“When I first got there, I was behind since I didn’t start playing football until I was a senior in high school, plus, I never really watched film,” Brown said. “I stayed every summer and worked hard. I tried to gain as much as I could.”
Not only is Brown a hardworking football player, but he is bilingual speaking fluent Spanish. On the field, it’s not an advantage for him to speak Spanish, but when he’s upset, he said he’ll speak it because no one can understand what he’s saying. Also, Brown’s family is mostly from Panama.
“I haven’t seen a lot of my family since high school,” Brown said. I hope to get to see them once football is over with.”
The VooDoo (8-9) host the Georgia Force (8-9) tonight in the regular season finale in The Graveyard. The winner of the game will secure a playoff berth, while the loser will need help to reach the second season.