After being unhappy in Las Vegas, Trent Brown thrilled to be back with the Patriots

Mark Daniels
The Providence Journal
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Offensive tackle Trent Brown is glad to trade the uniform of the Las Vegas Raiders, pictured, for that of the New England Patriots.

Trent Brown spent one season in New England. As it turns out, that’s all it took for the big offensive tackle to feel at home.

The 27-year-old found success with the Las Vegas Raiders, but acknowledged on Wednesday that his journey out West never felt right. Following the Patriots' Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams, Brown signed with the Raiders during the 2019 offseason. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection that season but was limited to 11 games because of an injury.

Last season, it got worse as Brown played in just five games. He missed time because he was on the COVID-19 reserve list (five games), because of a calf injury (three games) and another when a pregame intravenous feed caused air to enter his bloodstream and he had to be hospitalized. By the end of the season, Brown and the Raiders were ready to move on from one another. That’s when the Pats acquired the tackle in a trade for a fifth-round pick.

For Brown, returning to the Patriots means everything.

“Honestly, I just felt like ever since I left, nothing has gone right for me," Brown said. "I [have] been experiencing little, small nagging injuries. I have had to experience a lot of time without ball. I wasn’t really feeling the place of work, I guess you could say. No hard feelings to them or anything. I guess you could just say it wasn’t a good fit.

"I’ve worn a lot of jerseys in my life but I have never been more proud than when I put on a Patriots jersey.”

Brown has always had talent. At 6 feet 8 inches and 380 pounds, he’s a mountain of a man but he has rare athleticism for someone of that size. When the Pats first traded for him in 2018, no one was sure of what to expect from Brown, who previously dealt with weight issues in San Francisco. Under offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, however, Brown thrived. He started all 16 games with the Pats in 2018 and capped that season off with his only Super Bowl championship.

That’s what led Brown to Las Vegas, where the Raiders signed him to a massive four-year, $66-million contract. Then, Brown wanted to get back to the Patriots so intently that he actually restricted that deal in order to return to New England. He originally had two years and $29.5 million left on that contract. Now, that’s a one-year deal that will pay him at least $6.5 million with a chance to earn $11 million.

“When I became a Patriot," Brown said, "I always loved football, but I began to appreciate what it takes — the actual time, effort and sacrifices you have to make. And, really, it was fun to me.

"Some people don’t like it but I love it, honestly. And I just think that it is where I need to be. I am happy with the organization. I was happiest when I was there. I have never had more fun playing football in my life. Glad to be back.”

Brown credited Scarnecchia for pushing him in 2018. He credits the now-retired coach for making him realize his potential and pushing him to new heights. That year, he was moved to left tackle and excelled. With the Raiders, he played right tackle. The veteran says he will play wherever the Patriots want him to line up. For now, he’s just happy to be back in Foxboro.

“I think it was the first time where nobody was really like — they just let me be me," Brown said. "I wasn’t being harassed, I guess, like they let me be me. They weren’t trying to make me be somebody I am not on a day-to-day basis. They allowed me to be me as long as I came to work and put my best foot forward and that was really it.

"The kind of guys that are in the locker room as well as the coaching staff, you have no choice but to be a better man than when you walk in the door when you leave every day.”

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