Joey Browner now gets his ring (of honor)


Joey Browner reached six Pro Bowls in his eight seasons as a safety with the Vikings and now he can add Ring of Honor member to his list. Browner will be inducted at the halftime ceremony during the Vikings’ nationally televised Sunday night game against the Green Bay Packers on October 27th.

He will be the 21st player inducted into the Ring of Honor, and the announcement was made sweeter for Browner with his nephew, Keith Browner Jr. who is a Texans defensive end, on the visiting sideline. “I held him as a baby,” Browner said. “It’s a special day for me that he’s here to be a part of it. That’s where prayers come through.”

Browner’s first season with the Vikings’ was the second season in the Metrodome. As life came full circle for Browner, he returned to the dome for the start of the team’s final year in the building, the safety reminisced about how much the game — and the building — has changed.

“The Astroturf was a rock,” he said. “The evolution of the field (is great). The game was where the offensive linemen had to hold their hands in. We could play football back then. Now, there’s a rule for everything. The horse-collar was my signature tackle. I’d get fined every time I’d do it, but I’d still do it.”

Now 53 years old Browner still lives in Eagan and operates his Joey Browner Foundation, which emphasizes early childhood education. Early childhood education is an important agenda for Browner who wants to make sure all children are kindergarten ready when they approach that milestone.

“It’s getting kids who are 3 years old into preschool, trying to get to them first and teach them how to read and write before they get to kindergarten,” he said. “We’re losing them when they get to kindergarten, because a lot of them don’t understand how to prepare themselves.”