Mike Brown had the dream start for his new side Leicester Tigers today, as he returned to the rugby field for the first time in eleven months with a Player of the Match performance.
It’s been a rollercoaster of time and emotions for Mike Brown over recent years. The former England international left Harlequins back in 2021 after 16 long and fruitful years to head up north with his family to premiership rivals Newcastle. Despite the promise of a new opportunity and a new challenge, things were not to be. Plying his trade in the North East for only a year, Brown was once again released.
This left the fullback without a club and without any work on the horizon, putting him in a particularly difficult position. Brown has spoken out on various occasions about the challenges that now face out of work and retired players, with other avenues in the sporting and non-sporting world needing to be explored.
“If it was just me, I wouldn’t have emotion I don’t think. “
“It’s when you’ve got to go home and tell your wife that you’ve got to move again.”
Visibly emotional, @mikebrown_15 discusses his imminent departure from @FalconsRugby.
This is the side of sport you don’t often see. pic.twitter.com/t4DqqUfzyY
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 4, 2022
Almost a year after the above interview took place, Brown was handed a short-term lifeline with Premiership champions, Leicester. The 37-year-old agreed to a short-term deal to provide cover whilst many of the Leicester players are away on international duty.
Today saw Brown’s first appearance in the green of Leicester, lining up alongside possibly the oldest-ever Premiership backline, with a combined age of 229. Brown at the age of 37 was the second oldest only to veteran All Black, Jimmy Goperth at 39.
Age and experience were clearly on his side as Brown showed no sign of rustiness as he displayed a Player of the Match performance, helping his new team to a 24-18 victory over Premiership leaders Saracens. Talking about his drive and what the occasion meant to him, Brown described his wife as his “purpose and inspiration”.
An emotional @mikebrown_15 speaks following a player of the match performance in his first game back 👏#GallagherPrem pic.twitter.com/AHjHHvgM6P
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) February 19, 2023