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Getting to know Former Auburn Running Back, Ronnie Brown's Home Town

Deric WinslettCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2008

Relocating from the Auburn-Opelika metroplex to Cartersville, GA located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, was not an item on my "honey do list". None the less that's exactly what my wife and I have done, almost two months ago.  Cartersville is a small town in Bartow County. It was named after Col. Madeline Carter. During the census in 2000 the city population was 15,925. Growth is evident as the community's population rose to 21,274 as of 2005.  Though my work is located in north west Atlanta, living there is something neither I or my wife wanted to do.  leaving my home town in east Alabama is not something I truly wanted to do either, not to mention my wife. She was born there but moved all over until her eventual return to pursue her degree at Auburn. Many that go to school there find it hard to leave for several reasons. However for us; living in the home town of former Auburn running back Ronnie Brown, we feel connected to the "most beautiful village on the plains".  Weird? I know... I guess its the similarities. Small town feel, with it's history, character and a delicate touch of class and compassion for your neighbor.  Can you say a hallmark moment?  

Getting to know our way around Cartersville is a fun experience. It's a town where the people are extra friendly, they actually wave as you pass in your vehicles along the streets.  A friend  joked while visiting, saying; "you have been here only a few weeks and you already know everyone, what gives?".  Every church my wife and I visit in search of our new Christian home has at least one Auburn graduate that calls to invite us back; now that is smart salesmanship, but what it truly say's about them is they care enough to listen while you talk about yourself, can I get an amen?  Our new home is located within a stones throw of Lake Allatoona, and red top mountain state park. My wife and I enjoy hiking some of the mountain trails everyday, it's so majestic you foreget you are exercising.  The pace is slower, much like Auburn and Opelika used to be when I was a kid growing up there. I can't believe there's actually rush hour traffic now. In another twenty years there maybe helicopters giving traffic updates.  Is the AO like the ATL, heck no, but there's a football team that could beat the Falcons and you can buy your favorite adult beverage on Sunday; try that after 11:30 pm on a Saturday night in Cartersville and you'll end up in the poky. "That's jail for you younger readers".

Historic Court House located in Cartersville

 Many Georgians have crossed the river into Alabama to attend Auburn University. So it's not surprising that there are thousands of Auburn graduates and fans scattered throughout the state of Georgia.  It was not too long ago I read that Auburn University state license plates were the second most requested in Georgia, beating out Georgia Tech. It must be true I see them everywhere.  Cartersville is no different, there are many Auburn fans that live in and around the beautiful rolling hills of this eye catching landscape.  Cartersville high school, the house that Ronnie built is located practically in the middle of town. The Cartersville football team is known as the Purple Hurricanes or "Canes". The locals tell me the Canes are a power year after year.  My wife and I will see for ourselves when the lights turn on Friday night September 5th at the home opener against Rockmart; I have no reason to doubt them, with two AA State Championships in '91 and '99 they must do ok. 

Ronnie Brown is not the only celebrity from Cartersville. Computer guru Dennis Nedry, the charactor in the movie  Jurassic Park was the bumbling overweight InGen Corporation's chief programmer for the park and spy for Biosyn, portrayed by Wayne Knight, however; he is better known as "Newman" the postman from Seinfeld. Knight left Cartersville after high school for the University of Georgia and then eventually stardom. locally popular Radio and country music singer/ personality Cledus T. Judd currently still lives in the area. He moved back to Cartersville to take care of his mother who is in ailing health. His rib splitting morning radio show can be heard broadcast from Atlanta, and other political notables as well as Miss Georgia USA and Miss Teen USA  

 One of my recent highlights was finding a Ronnie Brown Rookie collector card and a Auburn players card in a antique shop located in the historic downtown. Yeah, an antique shop?  I paid a whopping six bucks each, worth every dime.  Ronnie returns often to host camps and other events.  My banker who is a Bama grad says he can get the cards and my number 23 jersey signed, the banker married an Auburn grad so atleast he has a better half!  If visiting Cartersville check out the BoothWestern Art Museum, then quench your appitite with a tasty dinner at the Appalachian Grill, the best restaurant in town, which say's alot there's several good ones.

I cant wait for the 2008 season to kick off, we are less than a month away. Driving down the highway to Auburn with the tiger magnets plastered and our game day flags flapping it will be fun. Until then? This weekend will consist of building a dog house, an afternoon nap, take a stroll around the lake, a burger at Fuddruckers and church on Sunday. So goes life in Ronnie's town, now my town too.

Ronnie Brown's Bio:

Ronnie G. Brown, Jr. (born December 12, 1981 in Rome, Georgia) is an American football running back for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Dolphins second overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. He played college football at Auburn.

High school career

Brown attended Cartersville High School in Georgia, where he was a three-year starter and rushed for 936 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. In his senior year, he earned the GeorgiaClass 2A Player of the Year award when he gained 1,931 yards on 206 carries and scored 25 touchdowns while also catching 15 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns. Brown led Cartersville that season to a state championship over Hart County - their first since 1990. During his high school career, he was selected to the PrepStar All-America team and was named the top running back in Georgia by SuperPrep. He also played free safety and had three interceptions in his senior year. He was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 2000 MLB Draft, but did not sign.

College career

Brown moved on to Auburn University to play NCAA football and major in communications. He teamed up with speed running back Carnell Williams to create a premier running threat of speed and power. He Redshirted after playing in the first two games of the 2000 season as he only gained 10 yards on six carries. In 2001, he played in 10 games and ranked third on the team with 330 yards on 84 carries and two touchdowns while catching seven passes for 109 yards.

Brown enjoyed his best season in 2002 when he gained a career-high 1,008 yards on 175 carries (5.8 avg.) with 13 touchdowns while subbing for the injured Williams. He also had nine receptions for 166 yards (18.4 avg.) and a touchdown. However in 2003, with Williams healthy and starting, Brown's statistics dropped as he carried the ball only 95 times for 446 yards (4.7 avg.), recorded five touchdowns, and had eight receptions for 80 yards.

In 2004, Brown shared duties with Williams and started seven games. He totaled 913 yards on 153 carries and scored eight times. He also displayed his receiving capabilities as he ranked second on the team with 34 catches for 313 yards and a touchdown.

Although he started only 21 of 47 games for Auburn he finished his career ranked seventh in school history with 2,707 yards rushing on 513 carries while ranking fifth with 28 rushing touchdowns. Brown also had 58 receptions for 668 yards and two touchdowns.

Professional career

2005

Brown entered the 2005 NFL Draftandwasdrafted with the 2ndpick of the 1st round by the Miami Dolphins. Carnell Williams was also in the draft andwas selected withthe fifthpick in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brown held out of training camp due to a contract dispute and as a result was not successful running the ball in the first two weeks of the season as he rushed for only 93 yards on 34 carries (2.7 avg.) and no touchdowns. However, he got on track in Week 3 as he rushed for 132 yards on 23 carries (5.7 avg.) and his first career touchdown. He followed this up with a successful Week 4 performance rushing for 97 yards on 17 carries (5.7 avg.). But during Week 5, he had to again share rushing duties with another premier running back, this time Ricky Williams who was returning from a four-game suspension. Brown ended up having only about forty more rushes than Williams during the 2005 season, and was well on pace for a 1,000 yard campaign if it wasn't for them sharing the football. Ronnie ended up with 207 rushes for 907 yards (4.4 avg.) and 4 touchdowns while having 32 receptions for 232 yards and a touchdown 2006.

With Ricky Williams suspended for the entire season, Brown entered 2007 as the feature back for the Miami Dolphins. The offensive line and offense in general struggled for the Dolphins, making it difficult for Brown to consistently produce at a high level. He had a breakout game on October 15 loss to the New York Jets, rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Three weeks later, Brown rushed for a career high 157 yards against a stingy Chicago Bears defense, helping the Dolphins to an upset victory of the previously undefeated Bears. On a Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions, Brown suffered a broken left hand from a hit by a defender's helmet. While he missed the next three contests, Brown returned for the final two games of the season and posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances against the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets. In 13 games played, Brown finished with 1,008 rushing yards, 276 receiving yards, five touchdowns and a solid 4.2 average.

 2007

During the team's May minicamp, Brown revealed that he is eight pounds over his listed playing weight of 232, and would like to cut his body fat from 12 percent to 8 or 9 percent. During week 7 Ronnie Brown injured his knee making a tackle during an interception return and was lost for the season. At the time of his injury he was leading the league in yards from scrimmage and was on pace for over 2,200 total yards on the season.

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