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SUPER BOWL XXVII : Brown Doesn't Mind Anonymity in Hometown : Cowboys: The cornerback, a former Los Angeles High player, is known in Dallas.

January 28, 1993|LONNIE WHITE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Second-year cornerback Larry Brown sat quietly at a table during the Dallas Cowboys' Wednesday morning news conference in Santa Monica.

Nearby, crowds of reporters surrounded teammates Troy Aikman, Ken Norton Jr. and James Washington--even offensive coordinator Norv Turner--while Brown sat nearly alone.

It did not bother him that he was being ignored by reporters despite being one of only three Cowboys who grew up in Los Angeles.

"No, I really don't mind that only half the people here know I'm from Los Angeles," said Brown, who graduated from Los Angeles High. "The people in Dallas know who I am."

The Cowboy roster includes former UCLA players Aikman, Norton and Washington. Norton, Washington and Steve Beuerlein were local high school products. And Turner and Dave Wannstedt coached at USC.

However, not even some people who attended Los Angeles High know much about Brown.

"He went there? I didn't know that," said one reporter who also graduated from L.A. High. "That's great. He was a Roman and he's playing in the Super Bowl."

Brown, 23, was a multi-talented athlete at Los Angeles High, where he earned All-City honors in track and football. However, he was overlooked by recruiters from major colleges.

"In a way, I didn't get the attention I should have gotten because I did not go to a City football power like Carson, Banning or Dorsey," Brown said.

Brown enrolled at Southwest Community College in Los Angeles, where he played tailback his first year and defensive back his second.

He finally received some recognition and moved on to Texas Christian.

"Larry has always been a hard worker, who always stayed in shape," said Bernard Dafney, who played with Brown at Southwest and is now an offensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings.

At TCU, Brown was a two-year starter who had a knack for making the big play. He led the Horned Frogs in passes deflected during his senior year and was the most valuable player in the Blue-Gray game after his senior season.

Brown was selected by the Cowboys in the 12th round of the 1991 draft and had to fight to earn a roster spot. In the fourth week of his rookie season, he broke into the starting lineup at right cornerback and has been a starter ever since.

This season, he has been one of the reasons for the resurgence of the Cowboys' defense.

"A key for us has been the development and the maturity of our young players," Wannstedt said. "Young guys like (rookie middle linebacker Robert) Jones, (rookie cornerback Kevin) Smith and Brown."

As he did in college, Brown made big plays for Dallas this season. In the Cowboys' NFC championship victory over San Francisco, he forced a key first-half fumble by the 49ers' Ricky Watters.

"I'm surprised to see him starting," said Dafney, who played at Fremont High. "But I'm not surprised to see him in the league. He has always been the type of guy who, if you gave him a chance to do something, he'd do it."

Despite his relative anonymity in Los Angeles, there were some people at L.A. High who had been anticipating his return.

But when Brown visited his former prep coaches, he was unable to give them any Super Bowl tickets.

"I was only given 22 tickets," Brown said. "And they all went to my family."

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