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Quick Read

Druley: Big Browns to meet in Miami

Miami's Sun Life Stadium might stand to undergo yet another name change in a few weeks.

For St. Charles residents Stacey and Kevin Brown, the venue once tagged for Joe Robbie, Pro Player and Land Shark, among others, may as well go by Son [italics SON] Life Stadium soon.

One of the Browns' children, Patrick, recently signed as an offensive lineman with the Miami Dolphins. Another, Ryan, is set to play at the Dolphins' home field when Northern Illinois faces Florida State in the Jan. 1 Orange Bowl.

"Pat's going to be down in Miami, as well, with me, so that's kind of funny," said Ryan Brown, a Huskies' redshirt sophomore offensive tackle. "He got picked up this month, and we're going to the Orange Bowl."

A walk-on in former coach Jerry Kill's program upon coming to NIU in 2010, the 6-foot-7, 283-pound Ryan Brown started at right tackle after the season opener.

He shifted to left tackle when Tyler Loos suffered a season-ending leg injury against Toledo on Nov. 14. After starting there in victories against Eastern Michigan and Kent State in the Mid-American Conference championship game, Brown is expected to remain on the left side for the Orange Bowl.

"You don't win the last two games of the year with a new left tackle unless Brownie's playing pretty good," said Huskies coach Rod Carey, the team's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach before being promoted earlier this month.

Patrick Brown found himself in better position to agree this season than usual. Active for the Minnesota Vikings on special teams and as a backup lineman throughout 2011, Brown was a casualty in the team's final round of cuts in September.

He returned home and maintained a diligent workout schedule, including a five-days-a-week regimen with Chris Browning of Batavia-based Pro Force Sports Performance Training.

Brown often recovered from the Huskie Stadium stands. He attended each of NIU's six home games as well as the MAC championship game in Detroit. Brown believes those were the first times he's watched Ryan play since 2009, when Ryan was a St. Charles North senior and Patrick had a week off from an earlier stint on the Vikings' practice squad.

"Just to see him live and not on TV or film is great, and to see what he's become is even better," Patrick Brown said. "His journey from a walk-on to a starter is just outstanding."

Patrick Brown was sitting down to lunch Dec. 3 when a representative from the Dolphins called him. Brown had spent part of 2010 with Miami, and the team wanted him back on its 53-man roster.

He flew to Florida later that day, arrived at night, passed a physical the next morning and signed shortly thereafter. Brown traveled with the team for Sunday's loss at San Francisco, but did not dress, as he's still learning the Dolphins' system.

The Dolphins-49ers game aired locally on CBS, and a few friends texted Brown telling him they had seen him in streetclothes on TV. That didn't seem so farfetched to Brown, whose fiance is from Miami.

The past week? That's another story.

"It's something that our family still can't believe right now," Patrick Brown said. "I really hope it works out for everyone."

MAC attack: Huskies linebacker Michael Santacaterina was a multisport athlete at Geneva, dabbling in basketball after football season.

Speaking about detractors of NIU's looming Orange Bowl appearance, "Santa" gave a baseball metaphor when addressing his conference, a non-automatic BCS qualifier.

"I'm definitely going to bat for the MAC, oh yeah. I'm the cleanup hitter for the MAC," Santacaterina said. "Obviously, I've got our team's back. We deserve to be there 100 percent. No way around it."

Mr. perfect: St. Charles North junior Isaac Marshall rolled a perfect 300 game Saturday, taking individual high-game honors in a tournament at Rockford's Don Carter Lanes.

He treated the accomplishment coolly, he said, much like his discussion during Monday's practice at St. Charles Bowl.

"I wasn't really thinking about it too much," Marshall said. "I kind of was just going with the flow and seeing what was happening. Just try to forget about everything that was happening, so I think that worked."

Marshall recorded a strike in each of his 12 rolls. It was his first 300 game.

• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or

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