STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Journey Brown started playing football in the 4th grade. He says he fell in love with the game in his sophomore year at Meadville High School. On Wednesday Night, Penn State Head Coach James Franklin confirmed that Brown will never play football again.
Coach Franklin revealed the nature of the medical condition that has sidelined the starting running back all season. Brown has a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It was discovered during routine COVID-19 testing but is unrelated to the virus.
Brown released a statement on his Twitter account that discusses his love for the game. He says he wishes he could step out onto the field one final time but that he won't miss the game because it will always be part of him. Brown earned the starting role in 2019 and racked up over 1,000 yards from scrimmage along with 13 touchdowns.
From Penn State Athletics - Brown finishes his career with the Nittany Lions having played 22 games, rushing for 934 yards on 137 attempts (6.8 average) and 13 touchdowns. He was on the 2020 Doak Walker, Hornung and Maxwell Award preseason watch lists. In the final five games of his career, he ran for 593 yards on 78 carries (7.6) with seven touchdowns.
Brown averaged 6.89 yards per carry in 2019 for the Nittany Lions, ranking fifth all-time at Penn State, while his 12 rushing touchdowns finished tied for 13th at PSU. Brown had a career-long 85-yard run vs. Pittsburgh (9/14/19), the second-longest non-scoring run in program history (Blair Thomas 92-yard run vs. Syracuse, 1986).
Penn State ran for 396 yards in the Cotton Bowl, a program-record for a bowl game and the second-most in Cotton Bowl history, and Brown was a big part of that. The Meadville, Pa, native set a Penn State bowl record with 202 yards in the Cotton Bowl vs. Memphis (12/28/19), topping Saquon Barkley's 194 yards in the 2017 Rose Bowl. The 202-yard rushing mark ranks sixth in Cotton Bowl history and he set a Penn State bowl record with 12.6 yards per carry in the game, shattering the previous mark of 8.6 yards per carry set by Curt Warner in the 1980 Fiesta Bowl.