Charlie Brown has always wanted to make an impact.
On the field, he was quite the find for the Washington Redskins in the 1981 Draft. Selected with the 201st-overall pick in the eighth round, the South Carolina State product burst onto the scene in his professional debut, hauling in two touchdowns, including a 78 yarder.
He saved one of his best performances for the biggest of stages. Against the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII, Brown recorded team highs in receptions (6) and receiving yards (60), and scored a late 6-yard touchdown to secure a Washington victory.
Since hanging up his cleats, though, Brown has contributed to the growth of several high school athletes – one of which is current Redskins defensive end Frank Kearse.
Kearse said Brown came to Savannah (Ga.) High School with a plan and completely changed the culture of the program, and in the process, made him a better player, and more importantly, a better man.
"It was different when Coach Brown came to Savannah High School," Kearse said. "The way practices were set up and run, they were basically like the NFL. There wasn't a lot of bangin' or a lot of stuff on the ground, it was all about everybody staying up and staying on your feet. … He really brought discipline to our school when we needed it."
Brown's contributions were instantly felt.
"My junior year, he sent something like eight kids to college programs on scholarship," Kearse said. "In my (senior) year, we had something like 12 or 13 achieve the feat."
Brown also incorporated a more up-tempo style offense, Kearse recalled.
"The tempo was crazy," he said. "As soon as you were done with a play, he already had the next play going. Being in high school, you were like 'Man, we're out here panicking and he's over the calm and ready to go.' It was totally different with the tempo that he brought."
Brown said that through determination and a strong work ethic, Kearse was able to achieve what many of his peers simply weren't capable of achieving: earning playing time in college and eventually getting on several NFL team's radars.
"He came from an inner-city program and a lot of them don't get out of there," Brown said. "But he was one of the ones who worked hard and just kept climbing that ladder."
Since leaving Savannah High School, Kearse said he's remained very close with Brown.
"After graduation, Coach Brown stayed in contact with me," he said. "He came to three or four games, came to Senior Day for college, and then transitioning to the NFL, when I was first starting for the Carolina Panthers, he came to my first couple of games.
Kearse said Brown remains one of the biggest influences on his football career.
We would go out to dinner afterwards and he'd tell me to keep my head straight and keep working hard, because it'll pay off," Kearse said. "He called me at least twice every two weeks. He really cares about Frank Kearse as a person instead of just a former player."
After signing with the Redskins in the offseason, Brown said he knew Kearse would thrive in Washington.
So far this season, the Alabama A&M product has three sacks.
"He called me during the offseason and said, 'Guess where I'm at? The Redskins are going to fly me in,'" Brown recalled. "I said 'That's going to be the best fit for you. They need defensive linemen. And sure enough, I spoke with Doug Williams during training camp and he said he was doing a great job and he's getting a lot of playing time.
"He's very athletic. He can run sideline to sideline and he's real strong. I'm proud of him."