Flexing all the way: Chris Brown’s infectious swagger rejuvenates Texas’ defense

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guenther | Daily Texan Staff

Flexing comes to Chris Brown’s mind when he breaks up a pass or delivers a big hit to a ball carrier.

The motion wasn’t intended to be the redshirt senior safety’s signature celebration. Brown said fans and outsiders made it popular, and he ran with it even though his teammates sometimes joke about it in the locker room. 

“Honestly, it can (become) contagious,” Brown said. “You see other guys out there flexing, doing it. I kind of felt like it sends a message of ‘We’re here.’”

Brown is definitely “here” this year. He’s coming down the home stretch of a breakout senior season that has seen him jump into some early NFL Draft projections. In Texas’ last game against West Virginia, his fourth-down pass breakup in the fourth quarter sealed the win for the Longhorns. 

Naturally, Brown flexed as he ran off the field. 

“I’m kind of a guy that the guys rely on as far as energy and things like that,” Brown said. “Regardless of the situation, regardless of the circumstances, I’m going to bring it. If I gotta be that plug, if I gotta be that electrifying force to get my guys going, they’ll get going. (We’re) definitely bringing that swag back. We’re here, and we’re here to stay.”

 

His energy has started to spread to his defensive teammates this season. Junior defensive back D’Shawn Jamison threw up a flex seconds after Brown did in the game against WVU. Junior jack Joseph Ossai has flexed after sacks. Senior defensive lineman Jacoby Jones has too. 

“I know (flexing) makes them sick, but that’s what we’re here for,” Brown said. “We’re here to piss people off. We’re trying to get back to that ‘05 (defense). That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Defensive coordinator Chris Ash isn’t bothered by the celebrations, though he joked that the team spent a lot of time practicing flexing. If a player makes a play, he’s OK with some celebration given how hard the defense practices. 

Ash said he often cracks jokes at Brown for being undersized for his position, standing at only 5 feet, 11 inches tall. Brown doesn’t seem bothered. He gave himself the nickname “BiG CB” with a lowercase “i.” He calls himself the baddest man in the Texas secondary because of the work he puts in. Ash said his small stature makes him play with a chip on his shoulder because he has something to prove. 

“He is really, really competitive,” Ash said. “He’s tough, and he works really hard. He’s been here as long as anybody, and it’s good to finally see here in his fifth year that a lot of his hard work is starting to pay off and he’s contributing to this defense and this team.”

Brown’s career hasn’t been what he envisioned, but he’s grateful for what it is. He experienced a 5–7 season that bottomed out when the Longhorns lost to Kansas for the first time in almost 80 years but felt the joy of winning the Sugar Bowl two seasons later. He’s now the most tenured member of the secondary and a captain. 

Ash said Brown wants to leave a legacy at Texas, but Brown is much more humble in his approach. 

“Just check us out when it’s time for us to play,” Brown said.