Like several other young players on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster, 2013 is a make-or-break year for third-year cornerback Curtis Brown, who is trying to put a disappointing 2012 season behind him and show the organization that they didn\'t waste a third-round draft pick on him back in 2011. David Todd of 970 ESPN Radio caught up with Brown on Wednesday after the Steelers first OTA practice of the 2013 season and asked him what he did during the off-season to prepare himself for 2013 and where his focus is right now.
"Working harder than I ever worked before," said Brown. "Worked out in Houston with Adrian Peterson and a trainer. Adrian Peterson really pushed me to get my body in better shape. Leaving last year at like 180, came in off-season at 202, back at 195 right now.
"So my whole focus was actually paying attention to the craft and actually dedicating myself to this game before it\'s over. Because you know, people come in the league quick and I got an opportunity to be on this football team, and possibly have a chance to play and make a difference. That\'s my focus right now."
Brown, who saw limited playing time on defense for the first time in his career in 2012, talked about how he failed to take advantage of his playing time last season after starting cornerback Ike Taylor went down injured.
"It happened so quick and before I knew it I was in the Baltimore game in a rivalry game and I feel that I did pretty decent," started Brown. "Had two knockdowns that game and the next week I had a chance to come out and I was below standard. So leaving that season knowing that I had a chance to play and I didn\'t take full advantage of it - had one good sprout of a moment and then from there it just leveled out. So this year I just got to keep myself focused and be ready at all times."
Brown told Todd that he worked Wednesday at the nickel spot without having any busted assignments and that he is playing up to speed with a better a grasp of the playbook. However, he also admitted that he didn\'t study tape like he probably should have the last two seasons, but that he is changing that this year when asked if he knew of one area specifically that he needs to improve at.
"Me, personally, it\'s straight learning how to study," said Brown. "Going in there extra time. When I have free time up here, don\'t just run out of the building to get home as fast as possible. Just come in here and work on your craft."
Brown has been a special teams demon for the Steelers in his first two season, which unfortunately have both been cut short by injuries late in those years. Knowing that Brown trained with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson during the off-season is very encouraging and so is the fact that he fully understands he has to turn the proverbial corner in 2013 as well.
The Steelers are more than likely going to a need a fourth cornerback to contribute at some point during the 2013 season due to either injuries or the use of more dime packages and hopefully Brown can be that cornerback.
The Texas product sounded very humble in his interview and appears to fully understand now that it takes extra time off of the field in order to better himself. It will be interesting to see if all of the extra work pays off when we get to the preseason, but you really have to like the words that are coming out of his mouth this past week.