ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Belief provides the biggest blessing for former Lake Marion Gator Alex Brown.
The Kansas City Chiefs rookie cornerback relishes the chance of a lifetime to compete in Super Bowl 54. It’s a dream opportunity realized all thanks to an encouraging high school coach, Chris Carter, who forever remains in Brown's corner.
Carter, who coached Alex Brown all four years at Lake Marion High, saw potential when many only saw an undersized athlete.
"You never would thought this would have been a kid in the NFL,” he said. “To me, he appeared to be a guy who had a lot of talent but felt sometimes he was overlooked or teams didn't take him seriously."
Carter noticed Brown’s talent and not his size. So, he did everything within his power to coach Brown and create opportunities to play on the next level.
"It means a lot. A lot of people don't get a coach like Carter,” Brown said. “Some kids are struggling to make it out. Coach Carter found ways to get those kids out. He honestly kept me at a level head. I was small. I was 155 pounds. He took me to camps and hyped my name. It's a blessing I had Coach Carter."
Brown envisioned playing Division I football. In 2014, on the day before National Signing Day, Appalachian State ripped that dream away by pulling the scholarship offer.
"I break down crying. I called my mom, told my mom nobody wants me,” Brown recalled. “What are we going to do now? I know I'm small and all, but I can play!"
"Now we're digging,” Carter said. “We're trying to find places. I call Coach (Buddy) Pough. I told him I got a kid here who wants to play football. He's good."
Pough, the longtime coach at South Carolina State, decided to provide that opportunity. At first, Brown was disappointed.
"I didn't want to go to S.C. State,” Brown said. “I wanted to go big D-1. That's every kid's dream."
The Holly Hill native quickly embraced his surroundings to sign with State.
"I was behind a lot of great players,” Brown said, “so it made everything feel so right."
It took a few years for Brown to see the field. By the time he completed his senior season in 2018, he had made a name for himself.
“I built my whole career on proving people wrong," Brown said. “I see all the doubt. I respond with my play.”
His rookie year in the NFL was rocky. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound corner went undrafted. He was signed and cut by the 49ers twice. But Brown eventually landed on the Chiefs practice squad before being placed on the active roster. Now, he plays against San Francisco in Miami at the Super Bowl. Both Brown and Coach Carter cannot wait for that moment.
"Wow! You can't make this stuff. You can't,” Brown said. “I still can't put the picture in my head. A lot of people in my area don't make it to this stage."
“Words can’t explain it,” Carter added. “You create an opportunity for someone and get a chance to live it out through them. It’s amazing.”