Journey Brown Announces Retirement from Football

Running back was on 2020 Doak Walker, Hornung and Maxwell Award Watch List


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State redshirt junior running back Journey Brown has announced his medical retirement from football due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


“I can still remember the first time I truly fell in love with the game I’ve been playing since fourth grade,” said Brown. “Back then it was a game I played for fun, but when I was a sophomore in high school, my life changed, and I fell in love with football. All I could think of was when can I play, how can I get better, what can I do to be a better teammate, and at that moment, football became less of a game for me and more of a lifestyle. That lifestyle put me in position to be blessed to have a chance to play football at Penn State.


“My first year here was rough at times, but when you love the game of football as much as I do, you put your head down and work through scout team, Lion’s Den and the waiting and watching. I finally had the opportunity to showcase what I was born to do and, hopefully, set myself up to achieve my life-long dream of playing in the NFL. Unfortunately, the dream will never be realized as I have been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which will force me to medically retire from the game of football.


“The pain of not being able to play the game I love anymore hurts and I can’t explain how I am feeling right now. However, I can walk away from the game knowing I truly gave my all at every practice, on every down and in the locker room every day. You never know when you will play your last snap, but I know I left it all out there and have no regrets, other than wishing I could step on the field one final time. I won’t miss the game of football because it will always be a part of me.


“Thank you to my family for always supporting me, especially during these difficult past few months. Thank you to my teammates, my brothers. Thank you to my coaches. Thank you, Meadville. Thank you, Penn State. Thank you to everyone who believed in me. Most importantly, thank you football!”


“Journey is one of the most popular and respected players on our team,” said head coach James Franklin. “When we found out about this in early September, the entire organization rallied behind Journey and his family. We need Nittany Nation to do the same, as I know we will. Journey’s handled this unbelievably well and I know he’ll be extremely successful, whatever he decides to do.


Brown finishes his career with the Nittany Lions having played 22 games, rushing for 934 yards on 137 attempts (6.8 average) and 13 touchdowns. He was on the 2020 Doak Walker, Hornung and Maxwell Award preseason watch lists. In the final five games of his career, he ran for 593 yards on 78 carries (7.6) with seven touchdowns.


Brown averaged 6.89 yards per carry in 2019 for the Nittany Lions, ranking fifth all-time at Penn State, while his 12 rushing touchdowns finished tied for 13th at PSU. Brown had a career-long 85-yard run vs. Pittsburgh (9/14/19), the second-longest non-scoring run in program history (Blair Thomas 92-yard run vs. Syracuse, 1986).


Penn State ran for 396 yards in the Cotton Bowl, a program-record for a bowl game and the second-most in Cotton Bowl history, and Brown was a big part of that. The Meadville, Pa, native set a Penn State bowl record with 202 yards in the Cotton Bowl vs. Memphis (12/28/19), topping Saquon Barkley’s 194 yards in the 2017 Rose Bowl. The 202-yard rushing mark ranks sixth in Cotton Bowl history and he set a Penn State bowl record with 12.6 yards per carry in the game, shattering the previous mark of 8.6 yards per carry set by Curt Warner in the 1980 Fiesta Bowl.