NFL camps open with Sullivan, Brown back again
SHEPHERDSTOWN — When last seen in the 2018 NFL playoffs, Philadelphia safety Tre Sullivan was making plays and giving the Eagles a chance to advance on as the defending world champions.
Sullivan was employed as a safety, and was credited with four solo tackles in a 16-15 win over the Chicago Bears in a wild card game.
The next week, Sullivan had six solo tackles as the Eagles were edged, 20-14, by New Orleans.
Sullivan came to the NFL from Shepherd, where he gained notice with his physical play and bone-rattling tackling.
In Sullivan’s last two years with Shepherd, the Rams did not lose a regular season game, advancing to the NCAA Division II national championship game in 2015 and to the NCAA Division II national semifinals in 2016.
The six-foot, 200-pound defensive back was undrafted before signing as a free agent with the Eagles following the 2016 season. In 2017, he was placed on Philadelphia’s practice squad and remained there for the entire regular season. Last year, he was on the 53-man squad and earned more playing time, as injuries riddled the Eagles’ ranks of defensive backs.
When this 2019 summer training camp just opened, Sullivan was back, trying to become a starter or at least a much-used special teams player.
Sullivan’s Shepherd teammate, tight end Billy Brown, has followed much the same early-career path as Sullivan.
At Shepherd, Brown set a fistful of single-season and career receiving records.
His career marks included receptions (249), reception yards (4,071) and touchdowns (43). As a senior in another Shepherd undefeated regular season, Brown had 99 receptions. He led the Division II ranks in receptions and ranked second nationally in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Like Sullivan, Brown was undrafted by the NFL and later signed with Philadelphia as a free agent. He was placed on the Eagles’ practice squad for the entire 2017 season.
When the 2018 season began in earnest in September, Brown was back on Philadelphia’s practice squad, where he stayed until being released in mid-season. He then signed with Indianapolis and was placed on its practice squad and never played in a regular season game.
In Jan. 2019, Brown signed a future/reserve contract with the Colts and came to summer training camp just recently.
Brown faces long odds in his effort to make the Colts’ roster. He is one of seven tight ends on the training camp roster. He could begin the 2019 season on the practice squad.
Sullivan and Brown were not drafted. Being from a Division II school, both had to overcome more obstacles than just the on-field competition they saw. And now Sullivan, barring injury, will probably be seen in Philadelphia games when the NFL season begins in early September.