By Mark Podolski, The News-Herald
POSTED: 02/19/17, 7:04 PM EST | UPDATED: 1 WEEK, 1 DAY AGO
Pharaoh Brown will have extra motivation at the NFL Scouting Combine to push out one last rep of 225 pounds.
The Brush graduate received big news on Feb. 16 when he was invited to the Combine.
That wasn’t enough for the University of Oregon tight end. Yes, he’s hoping to make the most of that opportunity, and parlay it to a shot at the NFL.
That won’t be Brown’s only driving force in Indianapolis, the site of the Combine.
Brown has partnered with Randy Gay, a board member for the Oregon Football Association, in an effort to help raise money for a charity.
Following his invitation to the Combine, Brown tweeted he is looking for businesses and individuals to donate money for every repetition of 225 pounds he completes in the bench press in Indianapolis.
He’s hoping to raise funds to help support the Lane County CASA, an organization in Eugene, Ore., that serves victims of child abuse. CASA is a nationwide organization.
Every dollar raised will go to CASA of Lane County.
“Pharaoh has a great heart, and he wants to help people,” said Gay in a phone interview. “The moment he contacted me, I thought, ‘What a cool idea.’ I immediately said, ‘I’m in, and let’s see how big we can make this.’ ”
Gay serves as a type of bridge between current and former Oregon football players looking to make a difference in the Eugene and surrounding areas.
Brown and Gay first met last summer at a golf event, and when Brown got word of the Combine, he reached out to Gay to assist in his charity effort.
Since Brown’s announcement, Gay said he’s received 15 to 20 commitments from those in the Eugene area
Gay is hoping to make an impact in Brown’s hometown of Lyndhurst as well as Northeast Ohio.
“Anyone from anywhere can support what’s been Pharaoh’s idea from the start,” said Gay, who will spearhead Brown’s campaign. “He really wanted to give back.”
As for how many reps of 225 Brown can complete, Gay said Brown is hoping to max out at 25 to 30 reps.
The fact Brown received his invitation to the Combine is a bit remarkable.
He suffered a gruesome knee injury late in the 2014 season that was so severe — a stretched artery in his leg cut off bleeding below his right shin — doctors feared the leg might need to be amputated.
After the injury, Brown told the Oregonian, “If I’m able to play, I’ll play. If I’m not, I’m not.”
Before the injury, Brown was having a solid season with 25 catches for 420 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games.
The recovery back was a slow and difficult one. According to an ESPN.com story, Brown’s mother, Jeannetta Smith, said her son’s focus wasn’t about returning to play, but rather learning how to stand and walk again.
“Things happen in everyone’s life, but it’s how you look at it,” said Smith. “Where some person might look at it and see an injury — it’s over, it’s done — but I didn’t look at it like that. I wanted him to look at it in a different way.”
Said Brown of his recovery: “I just had the mindset that that’s what I was going to do, and there was no turning back. I’m at the bottom, the only place is to go up from here.”
Eventually, Brown made it back, and led the Ducks onto the field for their 2016 opener. He finished the season with 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdowns.
To make a donation, contact Gay at 503-654-5100, or email [email protected]