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June 16, 2013

Exit Interview: Terrence Brown

He was a two-star recruit out of high school and never garnered the hype of some of his fellow Stanford defensive players, but Terrence Brown emerged as one of the top cover corners in the Pac-12 last season. He was one of the anchors on arguably the best defense in school history, and, along with Alex Carter, seemed poised to comprise possibly the Pac-12's best cornerback tandem in 2013.

But this past January, Brown surprised many both outside and inside the Stanford program when he announced his intention to forego his final year of collegiate eligibility to turn pro. Brown, who walked at Stanford's graduation over the weekend, told Cardinal Sports Report in an interview last week that he felt he was simply ready for the next challenge in his career.

"I just felt like I had a wonderful experience at Stanford, not only as far as the school but playing at the top level of college football which would allow me to kind of use the lessons I learned in college and to use that at the next level and hopefully learn more at the next level," Brown said. "I feel like I was well prepared, I played against some of the best talent across the nation. I just feel like I was more than ready to move on."

Brown did not turn pro because of the faulty advice of a misinformed agent or advisor. He knew going undrafted was a realistic possibility.

"Initially before even declaring I presumed that I was going to be a free agent," Brown said. "I heard a lot of mixed reviews saying that I could anywhere from mid to late rounds. But at the end of the day, the general managers and head coaches are going to make their decisions. All I have is my resume to try and influence that decision. Like I said it was tough to see guys go before me, but we're all going to have to compete anyway, so it really doesn't matter."

And, Brown added, he has engaged in "no second guessing at all" of his decision.

Below is the transcript of the rest of Cardinal Sports Report's interview with Brown.

Brown on the last few months of his life since signing with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent…

Terrence Brown: I've been trying to stay busy and keep up with things, especially after reporting back from rookie minicamp. I've kind of just been trying to stay in rhythm, pushing myself really hard the way I train and trying to make sure I'm prepared come training camp.

Brown on the progression of the defensive backs from when he first arrived on campus to the 2012 season…

TB: When I first came in there the defensive back group was the question. We kind of took that and kind of used that as our motivation to work hard and kind of become an answer to that question. Older guys such as Richard Sherman, Kris Evans, Corey Gatewood and then Michael Thomas and Delano Howell, Johnson Bademosi, they all kind of set a standard and I had the opportunity to play with them and against them. I kind of used that standard and carried it on when they younger guys came in such as Barry Browning, Wayne Lyons, Alex Carter, Ed Reynolds, Jordan Richards. So I kind of used that, my experience with them, to kind of help or push our guys so we can meet that standard and go beyond it actually.

Brown on Derek Mason and his talents as a coach…

TB: Coach Mason, he's a great coach. He took his time to actually teach us and actually allow us to learn which made things much better. If things were a little difficult he slowed it down for us and explained it. He didn't rush and try to say you guys have to learn on your own. He actually helped us throughout the process, which allowed for us to be very successful. And then along with the other defensive coaches on the staff. We're very thankful for them.

Brown on how the loss in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl and the performance of the secondary provided motivation for the Rose Bowl season…

TB: Unfortunately it didn't end the way we wanted it to end but coach kind of used that as motivation at the beginning of the year. We were in the game and we knew what they were going to do. We knew when Justin Blackmon was (involved) in plays. We had an answer for it, we just didn't execute. So coach used that at the beginning of the year as motivation saying I'm sure you guys don't want this to happen again. It kind of gave everybody some motivation to think like yeah, we can't allow that to happen again. We're better than that. And that kind of pushed us forth throughout the season.

Brown on his favorite moment/memory from his Stanford career…

TB: I mean just playing with the other 10 guys on the football field is a wonderful experience for me. I like to see everybody's drive and everybody's attitude towards the game. But if I had to pick a specific game, I'd probably say the Oregon State game this past season, the Oregon game this past season, the USC game this past season. And then of course the Rose Bowl. Being a kid from Los Angeles, I dreamed about playing in the Rose Bowl all my life. My brother's birthday is actually on January 1st so January 1st we'd always watch the game. And just be like I'm going to play in that game one day. To have the opportunity to actually play in it and come out on top is awesome. It's wonderful. Words can't really explain how I felt that day.

Brown on the most challenging Stanford receivers to cover during practice…

TB: Chris Owusu was probably the toughest one. Chris Owusu was tough. AS far as like route running, Drew Terrell was pretty challenging. Griff Whalen was pretty challenging as well as Jamal Rashad Patterson. Those are guys that probably made things a little bit difficult for me at times.

Brown on some of the young and upcoming defensive backs to watch in 2013…

TB: I'm really expecting Jordan Richards and Ed Reynolds to kind of become the leaders of the defensive backfield. As far as the corner spot, I think Barry Browning will have a good year if he's healthy. Alex Carter, if he can get past the sophomore year slump that a lot of guys go through after playing their freshman year, I think he'll have a successful career at Stanford. And Wayne Lyons as well. Some people second guess him but the guy is extremely talented and he loves the game of football.

Brown on emerging from a low recruiting profile to one of the better corners in the conference, and when he felt like he turned the corner in his Cardinal career…

TB: I've kind of always had it in my heart that I was better than the way I was rated. I was beyond that. Two stars, I actually didn't pay attention to high school ratings. I didn't care much about it because I knew everything would change when I got to college. But I'd probably say after my redshirt sophomore season, that's when I kind of became real confident about my game. I kind of used that to catapult me into the next season.

Brown on deciding to sign with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent…

TB: The Bengals jumped the gun and my father always told me to strike while the iron is hot, so why wait around. That's kind of my thought process going into that. And then they have a lot of vets there that I can learn from. Terrence Newman, Adam 'Pacman' Jones. There are a few other guys that I can actually learn how to play the game from.

Brown on the change in program mentality from the time he arrived on campus…

TB: I think Coach Harbaugh kind of set the standard my freshman year, bringing in guys that were all about winning. As the years progressed everybody seemed to become more and more hungry for that. Everybody seemed to be wanting to achieve what people thought was near impossible. Everybody wanted to win, which was really good. Everybody had the heart and desire to win. Nobody really wanted less. Nobody desired anything else. Nobody had second guesses about playing anybody. Everybody had a winning attitude which allowed for us to have special seasons following my freshman year three seasons in a row going to three BCS bowl games.

Brown on his aspirations following the conclusion of his football career…

TB: I have an attitude where I like to help others so I've had the thought about starting my own defensive back/cornerbacks academy with my younger brother, who goes to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He's actually a cornerback there. We've talked about that before. And there are other things that I have in mind, but no really set in stone plans. But that's one thing I want to do.

Brown on his Stanford experience as a whole…

My experience at Stanford, like I said it was a wonderful experience. I knew from the get-go with deciding to commit to Stanford that I was going to have a life-changing experience. That's what it was. I had the opportunity to meet some of the most brilliant and interesting people in my four years there. As far as outside of students and faculty members I had a chance to meet CEO's and senior officers in different companies or organizations. I don't think there's anything that I can exchange for that. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to go to Stanford outside of football. Academically like everybody knows that's probably the No. 1 institution in the nation.

Note: Brown will graduate with a degree in Science, Technology and Society. Though he will participate in the graduation this weekend, he does plan on returning to Stanford to complete a few needed classes sometime soon.

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