Brown reverses course, signs with Tampa Bay

Temple has announced that former RB Matt Brown has signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.

Brown, who agreed to sign with the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders last week, was on his way to Saskatchewan to sign it on Tuesday when an expired passport prevented him from boarding the plane, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Brown was in the process of renewing his passport when the Bucs contacted his agent, expressing interest in signing him. Brown canceled his plans to go to Canada and flew to Tampa to sign an NFL contract.

“Brown owes his good fortune to an expired passport,” Temple said in a press release. “Otherwise, he would have already signed with the CFL.”

Brown’s contract saga is the opposite of fellow former RB Montel Harris. Harris, after trying out with the Bucs and the Philadelphia Eagles, signed a deal to play for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

In a four-year career, Brown, at 5 feet, 5 inches, racked up many honors and records. He was named the 2012 Big East Conference Special Teams Player of the Year, and was on the All-Big East first team as the return specialist. He holds school records for punt return average in a season (14.2 in 2012) and kick return yards in a single game (227 on November 3, 2012 against Louisville). He finished his career second in school history in all-purpose yards with 5,272, third in rushing touchdowns with 22 and fourth in 100+ yard rushing performances with 10.

Brown is one of six former Temple player to sign a rookie deal with a professional team this spring. The other five are Harris (Hamilton Tiger-Cats), OL Martin Wallace (Cleveland Browns), DE John Youboty (Denver Broncos), DB Maurice Jones (Chicago Bears) and K/P Brandon McManus (Indianapolis Colts).