Not long ago, Sergio Brown was tackling opponents on Saturdays at Notre Dame Stadium. Although he started as a senior and had 50 tackles, he went undrafted when his college career ended in 2010.
Fast-forward two years, and Brown is preparing for Super Bowl XLVI as a New England Patriots safety.
The Chicago-area native talked with The Times at Tuesday's Super Bowl Media Day about his Midwestern roots and high hopes for the upcoming game.
The Times: What have the last few weeks felt like for you?
Sergio Brown: It's surreal. It's every kid's dream come true.
TT: Is there a little bit of a double-edged sword to playing so close to home?
SB: Yes, a lot of people are asking me for tickets, but I don't have them. It's all I can say.
TT: I imagine your phone has been ringing nonstop.
SB: I left it in my room for a couple hours. It's been going off since the playoffs started.
TT: What do you say to the people who are close friends, but who you just can't get a ticket for?
SB: They understand. You have a limited amount of tickets and a lot of family, and tickets are expensive, too, so they understand. You sit down and explain to them how much the tickets cost and how many people are asking for tickets. The four tickets I did get went to my mom, my brothers and my auntie, so all family.
TT: Are you guys being pretty closely guarded this week? Have you gotten a chance to just walk around Indianapolis?
SB: I haven't really seen a lot out in the city. We've been under surveillance quite a bit. It's the Super Bowl. You can't expect anything else.
TT: Has it hit you yet that you're here, doing what guys play entire careers hoping for?
SB: It has sunk in, but I'm sure it will get a lot more exciting as the days go on.
TT: Do you look back at your college career, not starting until your junior year, then not getting drafted, and kind of shake your head at where you are now?
SB: It's great. Anything can happen. It was a tough road, but I'm here, so it's kind of hard to complain and do anything but be happy and thankful for what's going on. As the game gets closer, your stomach gets more and more butterflies, more and more excitement.