Whenever opportunity presents itself, Ed Brown III makes the most of it.
The Bradenton native only had four games of high school film for college football scouts.
No worries, because Brown turned it into a positive.
He got himself to Kansas State as a preferred walk-on, but playing time wasn’t easy to get.
No worries, because Brown transferred to Fort Hays State, a Division II program, for his final season to keep his game film fresh.
Then when KSU wouldn’t let him participate in their pro day, Brown went to rival Kansas University’s pro day.
The result was an impressive performance that earned him a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks, an agent and ultimately a trip to the Indoor Football League.
Quite simply, Brown’s a Hometown Hero.
Brown leaves for Sioux Falls, an IFL team that signed him for the upcoming season, on Saturday.
But during his offseason time in Bradenton, he’s continued working out and played in two 7-on-7 leagues to keep his skills sharp.
The NFL dream is still something Brown is working toward, and it’s not an easy task.
But that’s something Brown has always persevered through, and it comes from his mother, Audrey Sanders.
She worked various jobs from cleaning offices to running transportation for IMG Academy, instilling a hard work ethic in her son along the way.
“I would say if my mom was compared to a football player, she would be like the Ray Lewis of life,” Brown said. “Because she just so hard-nosed and goes for whatever she wants. She’s determined. ... Through that, she instilled faith in me.”
Brown began his high school football career at Bayshore High School, but that lasted just a couple of years. He said his mother didn’t like the school and Brown, who had good grades, transferred to the now defunct Bradenton Prep.
Eventually, his 3.6 grade point average and football skills as a wide receiver had him heading to Manhattan, Kan., to play for the Wildcats.
There, he became a defensive back at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds.
But Brown was stuck on the sidelines at KSU, which meant he needed a place to get more current film and playing time. So Fort Hays entered the mix in 2014, and Brown amassed 27 tackles, seven pass breakups and one interception in 11 games.
Fast-forward to now and Brown, whose father played for Southeast High’s 1985 state runner-up team, is a college graduate with a degree in sociology and a desire to get to the NFL.
“This is a time in my life that I have to push for what I want and that’s to be in the NFL,” Brown said. “I can’t wait until next year. I can’t keep waiting. ... You have to go where you have opportunity.”
Here’s a look at some other Hometown Heroes:
Brian Poole: The Southeast High and University of Florida alum made his first career playoff start count big time. Poole led the Atlanta Falcons with seven tackles (six solos), and is now heading to the Super Bowl in his rookie season. Atlanta beat Green Bay 44-21, and Poole was part of a defense that flustered Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers often. Poole made several hits on Rodgers throughout the game.
Sharrod Neasman: Poole isn’t the only Manatee County player aiming for a Super Bowl ring against the Patriots. Neasman, a Braden River High and Florida Atlantic University alum, is also with the Falcons. He played the last three regular season games, but hasn’t appeared in any playoff games so far.
Brendon Little: A left-handed pitcher with State College of Florida, Little was tabbed the 34th best prospect by MLB Pipeline. There are six other left-handed hurlers ahead of him.