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PITTSBURGH (PittsburghPanthers.com)—The University of Pittsburgh’s rich association with the College Football Hall of Fame grew stronger today with the announcement that Ruben Brown will be a member of the 2015 induction class.
A star offensive tackle for the Panthers from 1991-94, Brown is the 24th Pitt player or coach to earn induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. The announcement was made by the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame this morning in Dallas, Texas.
Brown will receive his formal induction on December 8 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
“This honor goes well beyond me,” Brown said. “Everyone at Pitt shares this recognition. I’m so indebted to the many people who mentored, coached and guided me as a person and player over the years. I’m thrilled to accept this honor on everyone’s behalf and could not be more humbled and appreciative.”
“Our entire program congratulates Ruben on this incredibly deserved honor,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “I had the opportunity to speak to him on the phone this week and his pride in the University of Pittsburgh is obvious. He is a true ‘Pitt Man’ and I know everyone is extremely proud of him.”
A Parade All-American out of E.C. Glass High in Virginia, Brown arrived at Pitt in 1990 as a highly touted defensive lineman. Forced to redshirt as a freshman due to injury, he was greeted at his second college training camp in 1991 with news from the coaching staff that he would be switched to offense.
Unlike the defensive line, which featured standouts Sean Gilbert and Keith Hamilton, Pitt’s offensive front had depth issues and needed immediate help.
That’s exactly what Brown provided. He started the next four years at offensive tackle, earned All-Big East honors three times and, as a senior, was a first team All-American.
In the 1995 NFL Draft, Brown was taken in the first round by the Buffalo Bills. He was the 14th overall selection and would reward the Bills’ investment by going to eight consecutive Pro Bowls as an offensive guard from 1996-2003. Brown would be named to Buffalo’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2009.
Brown concluded his career by spending four seasons in Chicago (2004-07). In 2006, he was a vital contributor to the Bears’ first Super Bowl berth in nearly two decades. That same season he was named to his ninth Pro Bowl, matching Dan Marino for the most Pro Bowl appearances by a Pitt player since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
His Pro Bowl credentials also make him a highly viable candidate for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday.
Now retired, Brown remains highly active in numerous community endeavors. His Ruben Brown Foundation is aimed at helping children through educational, developmental and mentoring programs. He annually organizes holiday shopping trips for underprivileged families and hosts a “Game Day Experience with Ruben Brown” in which area youth can watch a Bills game with him from a luxury suite.
Brown has received various recognitions for his community work, including the Pro Football Weekly Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian of the Year Award, Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service Award, the Buffalo Bills’ NFL Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award and the Salvation Army William Booth Community Service Award.
He is also very visible in media circles, hosting weekly sports radio and television shows in the Buffalo area. His move behind the microphone was a natural. One of the most quotable and cooperative players during his career, Brown was named to NFL.com’s “All-Interview Team.”
In addition to Brown, the Panthers’ other College Hall of Famers, with the years they participated at Pitt in parentheses, are: Len Casanova (1950, coach), Jim Covert (1978-82), Averell Daniell (1934-36), Tom Davies (1918-21), Mike Ditka (1958-60), Joseph Donchess (1927-29), Tony Dorsett (1973-76), Bill Fralic (1981-84), Hugh Green (1977-80), Marshall Goldberg (1936-38), John Majors (1954-56, as a player at Tennessee), Dan Marino (1979-82), Mark May (1977-80), Herb McCracken (1918-20), George McLaren (1915-18), Robert Peck (1913-16), Joe Schmidt (1950-52), Joe Skladany (1931-33), Herb Stein (1918-21), Dr. John B. Sutherland (1914-17 [player], 1924-38 [coach]), Joseph Thompson (1904-06 [player], 1908-12 [coach]), Hube Wagner (1910-13), and Glenn “Pop” Warner (1915-23, coach).