As fans took pictures with their favorite Soul players on the Wells Fargo Center field following Saturday's heart-breaking loss to the defending champion Rattlers, some may not be aware of the heroism exhibited by rookie Morkeith Brown.
The 28-year-old Harrisburg native joined the Army and served 14 months in Afghanistan back in 2005.
"Basically, my mother wanted me to get a little more mature and a little more guidance due to the death of my uncle who was pretty much my father figure," said Brown, who has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Temple.
Brown served in the 63 Bravo unit (63B Light Wheel Vehicle Mechanic) where he worked as a diesel mechanic in Afghanistan. He received many accolades for his efforts, including the Support of Operation Enduring Freedom Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Brown, a defensive end who has 12 tackles (one sack) for the Soul, made it very clear that he doesn't have any regrets about joining the military and going overseas to fight for his country. Brown does admit that by enlisting at an early age, he probably lost out on some NFL opportunities.
"I believe so, being that I came out of college a little bit older, it really hurt me because they [NFL teams] don't feel like they have enough time to develop me," Brown said. "But I still feel that I have an opportunity after going through the season with the Soul and bringing a chip [championship] back ... that's definitely going to help my chances."
In early May, Brown was presented with the "Seven Seals Award" for endorsing awareness for the hiring of veterans and citizen soldiers. It's something he may be facing sooner, rather than later.
"Basically get a government job ... you can't play football forever," Brown said. "Something with great benefits, that's what I'm looking forward to."
Soul fall to Rattlers in ArenaBowl rematch
The Soul blew a late lead this past Saturday night and lost to the Arizona Rattlers, 64-57, in an ArenaBowl rematch. The loss ended the team's two-game winning streak.
The Soul, thanks to a stifling defensive performance, gave up a 15-point lead late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh went 20-of-33 for 308 yards and six touchdowns. Wide receiver Tiger Jones had eight catches for 171 yards and four scores.
"We did a lot of good things both offensively and defensively," said coach Clint Dolezel. "I'm proud of my team. They fought back and did everything they could."
The Soul host New Orleans Saturday at 7:05 p.m.. The game will be aired on The Comcast Network.