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November 6, 2012

Goodman plays on with brother in mind


RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. -- Monday was supposed to be a celebration filled with excitement, but for Tahaan Goodman, there were other feelings.

Sadness and reflection have become a part of life for Goodman after his brother, Isaac Brown, was shot and killed last weekend during a party near Los Angeles.

The four-star safety from Rancho Cucamonga said an investigation is under way, and details are sketchy. But this much is clear: A loved one is gone, and that's difficult for anyone.

"I look at what happened," said Goodman, who was presented with his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey Monday at his high school. "Everything else has been good but I've been thinking about that a lot. I'm thinking about how we could have gone to school together and I've been thinking about choices and decisions."

According to Goodman, his older brother attended a party Friday night east of Los Angeles. An argument ensued, followed by multiple gun shots that struck Brown in the chest.

"We still don't have the whole story yet," Goodman said. "There is still an investigation, so we got a lot of different stories from neighbors who said they saw the whole thing, people saying they have video. We still have to check everything out."

Rancho Cucamonga played Thursday night, so Goodman said he attended a dance in Pasadena Friday night and then headed to his grandparents' house. After a flurry of phone calls late Friday and into Saturday morning, it became clear that Goodman's life would be altered forever.

In some ways, Monday's Army jersey presentation was a soothing step for Goodman, who said he wished his brother could be in attendance during an emotional speech.

Staying focused on football and his schoolwork, surrounded by friends, might help with the healing process.

Life takes precedent over sport but the football field could be Goodman's release. A trip to San Antonio at the beginning of January with friends could aid in his recovery. The four-star thinks it will.

"It's definitely going to help," Goodman said.

"Just learning what happened, some friends came over and got my mind off it so going there ... football, when you're on the field, it's that thing where you don't have to worry about anything else. That just takes your mind off everything."

Rancho Cucamonga teammate Chris Hawkins is trying to help his friend as much as possible while also respecting boundaries.

Hawkins, who's committed to USC and also received his Army game jersey at Monday's presentation, heard Goodman was upset before the ceremony and rushed to his side.

The two shared a private moment before things got under way.

"Before the ceremony, my friend said [Goodman] was in class upset, so I'm a good friend of Tahaan's and I went inside his class, pulled him out and gave him a big hug and told him he has to play for his brother now," Hawkins said.

"He's gone. He can watch you play from heaven. I said everything you do, think of your brother first. If he's down, I will pick him up and do anything for him."

For numerous reasons, Hawkins is as excited for the Army game as anyone. Getting out of town with Goodman, Upland, Calif., defensive end Joe Mathis, another close friend, and others is going to be fun and exciting -- and also soothing.

The horrors Goodman has experienced in recent days might not be forgotten, but for a few days in San Antonio, kids can be kids again -- and play the game they love. The ghastly realities of life can be put aside if only for a short time.

"We're two big kids," Hawkins said. "He's a big, big kid. Going with him and JoJo Mathis, it should be fun. We're all from the same area, and we all have the same personalities so it should be a fun thing. Hopefully we room together. When we room together it's always fun and games when we're in the hotel room, hardly any sleep.

"I picture that dude as my brother now."



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