Patriots

Former Pats coach Brown shoots self, hospitalized

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Former Pats coach Brown shoots self, hospitalized

GRANGER, Ind. -- Former Notre Dame football defensive coordinator and NFL player Corwin Brown was taken from his home Friday night with a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a nearly seven-hour standoff, police said.

St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett said Friday night he did not know whether Brown's injuries were life-threatening.

Police say they heard gunshots inside the home shortly after they arrived about 1 p.m. in response to a reported domestic dispute. Brown's wife and children exited the house sometime later and police say they began trying to talk him out using cellphones and a bullhorn.

Police said Brown, who was a tri-captain of the Michigan football team in 1992, asked to talk to several friends during the standoff. Shortly before it ended, someone could be heard saying through the bullhorn: "Be a Michigan man today. Step up to your obligation."

Several seconds later the person said: "Please don't let me down. Please!"

Moments later a fire truck and ambulance rushed to the front of the house. The ambulance left moments later.

Police would not identify the person who had been talking to Brown.

Police said Brown's wife, Melissa, had a bruise on her head when she left the house earlier in the day. Their children were not hurt.

Police could be heard urging Brown, 41, throughout the day to give up or to give them a call. "We'd appreciate it if you'd let us know you're OK," one officer said through the bullhorn.

Sgt. Matt Blank, a St. Joseph County police spokesman, said Brown came out of the house several times during the standoff only to go back inside.

"Just calm down and put your hands in the air," a police officer said when he came out about 4:45 p.m. Several moments later, Brown could be spotted inside in a window closing the blinds.

Blank said no shots were fired by police during the standoff.

Officers blocked off entrances to the subdivision about 10 miles northwest of the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, and blocked access to the Brown home from about three houses away. Police at one point provided an escort as a family left their home next door.

Brown was drafted in the fourth round of the 1993 NFL draft out of the University of Michigan, where he was co-captain and all-Big Ten his senior year. Brown played eight seasons in the NFL as a defensive back with the Patriots, Jets and Detroit Lions, from 1993-2000.

Before coming to Notre Dame, Brown was an assistant with the New York Jets and at the University of Virginia.

He was Notre Dame's defensive coordinator from 2007 to 2009. He was fired along with most of the rest of the staff when Charlie Weis was fired. He coached defensive backs with the New England Patriots last season but was not retained.

Giardi: After getting schooled, Butler's got to be better

Giardi: After getting schooled, Butler's got to be better

When the Patriots signed Stephon Gilmore in the offseason and then managed to keep Malcolm Butler around, the consensus was not only might this be the best 1-2 punch at cornerback the team has ever had, but maybe, just maybe, it was the best duo in the NFL this season. 

Newsflash: it hasn’t been. Not even close. 

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The latest example comes from Sunday night in Denver. Gilmore returned from a three-game absence (concussion) to play well against Demaryius Thomas in that 41-16 win. The same can’t be said of Butler. He spent much of his day playing man-to-man versus Emmanuel Sanders and struggled mightily.

Butler’s issues started on the very first play. He got lost along the sidelines and surrendered a 31-yard catch. Butler initially had Sanders blanketed. The two were lined up outside the numbers along the left sideline. Based on the formation, and the alignment of safety Devin McCourty, it was pretty clear Butler was alone on an island. Sanders initially drove inside before straightening out his route. Then he cut sharply, working speedily to the flat. Butler had a good beat on the play but unwisely peeked into the backfield. That’s when Sanders turned up and found nothing but green grass.

“I would just say I’d just tip my hat to him,” said Butler. “It was a great route. He steered me in. Then he went up then went out then went back up so I thought that was it. It was a little more than I expected. You gotta learn from it and play it better next time.”

On the same drive, he was beaten again by Sanders, this time for 13 yards. The Pats defense tightened up and held Denver to a field goal but a pattern had already been established between the Patriots' 27-year-old cornerback and Sanders.

The next big play Butler coughed up came with 4:13 to play in the second quarter. Broncos QB Brock Osweiler summoned Sanders to come across the formation via motion but then sent him back as the wideout approached the tackle box. Butler overreacted, trying to jump out ahead of the motion while simultaneously looking into the backfield. It was then he realized Sanders had done an about-face. To his credit, Butler recovered and jumped on Sanders shortly after the snap of the ball, actually shoving the receivers’ right shoulder in an attempt to disrupt the pattern. 

As Sanders turned upfield, he appeared well-covered by Butler. But then another old habit that’s been hard for Butler to break appeared. He lost track of the ball once it took flight. Sanders slapped on the brakes and high-pointed the football while Butler watched, helplessly flat-footed. Chalk up another 23-yard gain.

“I would just say he underthrew it and I got pushed by,” said Butler. “I probably burst because I was expected the ball to come too. You just got to play it the best way you can. Things happen. He just made a great play. I was in good position but not good enough.”

Sanders caught one more pass on the drive, and should have had a touchdown in the second quarter, streaking past Butler toward the end zone. But Osweiler made a terrible throw, unable to even keep it in the field of play. Hence another field goal instead of a touchdown. Bullet dodged - and there were a few.

“You can’t win with three all day,” said Butler of the defense’s red-zone efficiency. “They’re very hard on us on protecting the red area and not giving up touchdowns in the red area. Bend but don’t break. That’s been the motto.”

The Patriots would break later and Sanders beating Butler was a part of it. The play coming about five minutes into the third quarter on Denver's only TD-scoring drive. The Broncos came out in trips, employing a bunch formation that had plagued the Patriots so often the first month of the season. Unlike then, the Pats handled communication perfectly and as Sanders worked toward the seam, Butler had good position and help toward the post, with safety Duron Harmon eyeballing Sanders the entire way. So did Butler do? He gave up outside leverage, with Sanders breaking hard to the flag. Butler’s footwork was a mess - he got spun around like he was auditioning for "Dancing With the Stars" - and was unable to recover until Sanders had picked up another 23 yards.

“Another good route,” said Butler. “He got me thinking inside and broke out. He’s a good player. A great receiver.”

There’s no denying Sanders’ talent, but Butler has got to be better and more consistent. He’s too often been lost in coverage or gotten caught gambling, eyeballing a big play that’s rarely come in 2017. With their issues up front, it’s the Pats secondary that’s going to have to lead the way. The corners have only occasionally played to the level expected of them. The clock is ticking. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: this is when the Patriots want to be playing their best football. About time Butler answered the call.