Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown was suspended one game last season after he kneed Northwestern's Patrick Ward in the groin during a game. Brown, a junior, has learned from that incident and told the Chicago Tribune he's trying to be a better example for teammates this season:
He said this week he has matured and moved on. He's worried about a few other sets of eyes now that he's the veteran leader of the Illini linebackers.
"I feel like, me personally, I have to step up and be more vocal, doing things the right way so I can set an example for guys looking up to me," Brown said.
Brown, a second team All-Big Ten selection last season, also said he has learned to be more passionate about the game, something he learned from watching Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis:
"I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy it, but I got a little uptight sometimes," Brown said. "I didn't appreciate the moments last year. This year, that's something I'm starting to do every day in practice."
Illinois opens its season Sept. 1 against Western Michigan.
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