Five years ago, Pharaoh Brown wasn't sure if he'd walk again, let alone play football.
The Oregon tight end suffered a gruesome injury, slitting open an artery during a 2014 game against Utah. While the rest of the team departed on a plane back to Eugene, Oregon, Brown was rushed in an ambulance to the University of Utah hospital. What initially looked like an ACL/LCL knee injury, turned out to be far worse.
"They gave me some IVs," Brown said. "I was still in pain and they started shooting dye. Basically, when they were shooting dye, they couldn't see it when it got to my knee and so I wasn't getting any blood from the leg down."
By the time Brown reached the hospital, he had a decision to make. The Utah medical team told him he needed surgery or his leg would be amputated.
"I was like, OK well give me surgery," Brown said.
After waiting 30 days to see if the vein bypass worked, Brown still had two more surgeries and 19 months of rehab ahead of him. Brown redshirted his 2015 senior season, but after a long road to recovery and a positive attitude surrounded by family and his fiancé, he scored five touchdowns and set single-season career highs in receptions (33) and receiving yards (426) for the Ducks in 2016.
Fast forward to 2020 and Brown is finding his role in the Texans offense and making plays on special teams. Signed on September 14, the third-year NFL tight end has been vital in the past few weeks as Jordan Akins works his way back from a concussion following a helmet-to-helmet hit in Week 4.
"I think I'm just a guy that kind of can do it all, block to give you some stuff in the pass game, athletic, can run after the catch, can block," Brown said. "I think now is just the coaches getting used to me, just see my role growing week to week. We haven't got to the point where we want to be in the run game. So that's kind of been a thing that we need to get off the ground. So I've been using the blocking and hopefully these weeks leading up, I get my hands on a few balls and show the coaches that I can do that."
In the fourth quarter at Tennessee, Brown's 22-yard catch on first down set up a 53-yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson to Will Fuller V. The Texans took a 30-29 lead over the Titans after the two-play, 75-yard drive.
Brown, who spent the offseason with the Cleveland Browns, got up to speed quickly and saw his first action as a Texan in Week 3 at Pittsburgh. Adapting to new offenses and new coaching staffs has been standard operating procedure for Brown.
"This is my third coach, actually, in a year and a half everywhere I've been," Brown said. "I actually haven't had the same coach in consecutive years, so I've had a fourth year, had a coach every year, some two coaches in two years. So kind of familiar, just like with the coaches learning offenses. I've been around the game. I just love the sport. So I kind of just studied. So when I came here, this was by far one of the more harder offenses to learn, but I just dove in and just studied."
Brown and the Texans will face the Green Bay Packers in Week 7. Sunday's kickoff from NRG Stadium is scheduled for 12 noon CT on FOX-26 and SportsRadio 610.