NORTH ST. LOUIS, MO(KTVI)-Hundreds packed Hopewell Church for the funeral of Jerry Brown, an NFL player killed in a suspected drunk driving crash near Dallas last weekend.
Loved ones said again and again, "Jerry made it. He made it,”during the funeral service.
They were talking about more than football.
“Jerry Brown was a good dude...that big smile with his Colts jersey on, that was Jerry. He would light up a room. There’s a lot of kids out there that played football because of Jerry Brown. I’m sure they’ll be inspired to chase their dream the way Jerry did,” said Craig Ball.
It would seem high praise from a teammate, but it was no teammate. Ball was Brown’s former boss at the Foot Locker in South County.
Brittney Robnett, Brown`s high school classmate from Vashon - the 'V', was there, too. She hardly felt as 'big time' as her friend, Jerry, became; but to Jerry Brown she always was. Just days before his death, they spoke on the phone about getting everyone from the 'V' together again.
“It hurts to lose him so soon. He had so much ahead of him,” she said, sobbing.
“I was his mother, other mother. I was a parent resource specialist. All I can tell you is the he was one of the wonderful, sweetest young men, you could ever, ever, ever, imagine,”said Felecia Gladney, a former Vashon counselor.
Brown was killed in a morning accident last weekend outside of Irving, TX. Police said Josh Brent, his teammate at Illinois and with the Dallas Cowboys, was speeding and driving drunk at the time. Brown was a passenger in Brent`s vehicle. Brent`s blood alcohol level was reportedly twice the legal limit. He’s charged with intoxication manslaughter but free after posting bail.
A big group of Brown`s Illini teammates were at the funeral.
So was Hayworth Hicks, now with Tampa Bay. He was Brown`s roommate in training camp with Indianapolis this summer.
“His dream was to make it to the NFL,” Hicks said. “He made it. I was there the day he got called to get to the active roster. I was probably more excited than he was. There’s not going to be another one like him. He changed my life. Drinking and driving is bad, you all. Just, call a cab or something please. It`s not worth it,' he said, wiping tears.
“He cared about people. He wanted to help people. He always lived to play ball. It`s just hard losing him. It`s hard losing such a good person who has so much ahead of him,” Robnett said.
Brown, 25, was a linebacker on the Cowboys practice squad. He was activated for one game with the Colts in October, before being released and then signing with Dallas.
Follow me: on Twitter@andybankertv; on Facebook@andybankerfox2; email: firstname.lastname@example.org