In 1997, head coach Jim Fassel had directed the New York Football Giants to a 10-5-1 record and an NFC Eastern Division crown. But not all was unicorns and rainbows. Starting RB Tyrone Wheatley had gained only 583 yards on a club that ran the ball quite a bit.
Fullback Charles Way had out-gained Wheatley gaining 698 yards. Something had to give if the G-Men were to regain their glory as a smash-mouth running team.
That something was RB Gary Brown. In 1998, he gained 1,063 yards plus was a force in the receiving game.
This one hurts…rest easy coach. pic.twitter.com/i3iN5H2Zli— Braelon Allen (@BraelonAllen) April 11, 2022
This past Sunday, Brown passed quietly away in his hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania after being in Hospice care. He was 52-years old. Brown is survived by his wife Kim, daughters Malena and Dorianna, plus his son Tre. He was currently employed with the University of Wisconsin.
Brown played for the Giants from 1998-1999 after spending five seasons with the Houston Oilers where he was taken with the 214th pick in the eighth round. By his third season he supplanted starter Lorenzo White and gained 1,002 yards for the 12-4-0 Oilers.
The Giants tweeted on Twitter:
“We mourn the passing of Gary Brown, a great man who played for Big Blue for two years - including a 1,000-yard season in 1998. Once a Giant, Always a Giant.“
Brown has had his share of physical problems including two bouts with cancer. In his early 40’s colon cancer was discovered in its early stages to which chemotherapy sessions cured his illness. Then in 2019 doctors discovered a malignant tumor near his pancreas. He opted for immunotherapy.
After he hung up his cleats, Brown became the running backs coach for three college teams before being hired by the Cleveland Browns as their running backs coach. He excelled at this level tutoring Jamal Lewis, Trent Richardson, Jerome Harrison and took a raw Peyton Hillis from 13 carries with 54 yards to a wonder season of 1,177 yards on 270 carries with 11 touchdowns.
Brown was the running backs coach with Cleveland from 2009-2012.
In 2013 the Dallas Cowboys hired him as their running backs coach after Browns head coach Pat Shurmur was fired. Brown remained with Dallas for seven seasons. He last employer was last season at Wisconsin as the RB coach.
Jerry Jones on the passing of former Cowboys RBs coach Gary Brown, who was 52: "His energy and spirit were infectious. He lit up every room he walked into and touched the lives of those who knew him in such a positive way." pic.twitter.com/PscAAA9Puk— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) April 11, 2022
Both Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and Wisconsin interim RB coach Jori Epstein tweeted out memories and thoughts regarding Brown’s passing.
While with Wisconsin, treatments sessions for Brown were a continual occurrence. His condition worsened to which the decision was made for him to step aside for the remainder of the season with the hopes of a full recovery process.