Kareem Brown, transitioning from defensive tackle to tight end, has been learning more tricks of the trade every practice, even though he missed a day of training camp at SUNY Cortland while attending the funeral of a close friend.
Early on the morning of July 24, Brown's close friend, Jeffrey Nelson, died in a car accident.
"A friend of mine lost control of his vehicle and ran into a tree," Brown said, "and the bad thing about it was that I was in the car behind him, so I witnessed the whole thing with my own two eyes and I was the one that had to call his mother and his girlfriend and let them know. So that's something that's going to stick with me forever. It just hurt. It hurts to witness that and it hurts to just be around something like that."
But Brown has tried to find some good in the tragedy at training camp.
"You try to think of it in a positive light," Kareem said about his friend, "like what would he have wanted me to do and I'm sure he would have wanted me to be here, busting my butt and getting the job done."
On Monday, head coach Rex Ryan spoke about "some personal issues" Brown had to deal with, and at today's news conference Ryan spoke of his progress at the tight end.
"It's obviously unfortunate he missed a day, but he's coming on," the coach said. "And you expect it. This is a brand new position for him, but he flashes at times."
"Tight end is coming along good," Brown said. "It's a process just learning the whole offensive scheme. It's the little things in the offense that are most important because you can learn off the playbook but you've got to learn the little things from the vets and they teach you little tricks of the trade that take you that extra mile."
No. 84 had to lose a decent amount of weight for his transition to tight end as well. "I was 322 my last game in college," he said, and he was listed at 295 last season. When asked about his current weight, Brown said with a laugh, "I'm undisclosed because I like for people to still think I'm big."
His roster weight is now 260.