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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MVP Overcomes Personal Tragedy, Plays On

TEMPE, Arizona -- He had just intercepted two passes for the Dallas Cowboys. He had just become the first defender to be named Super Bowl MVP since Richard Dent in Super Bowl XX a decade earlier, and the first cornerback ever to win the award. He had just taken a telephone call from the president.


But his teammates know that not even the greatest triumph in Larry Brown's life can make him forget his greatest tragedy.


"The loss of his son will still be with Larry Brown," said Darren Woodson, fellow defensive back. "No matter what goes on today, he will still be dealing with it."


On Nov. 16, Brown's infant son, Kristopher, who was born 15 weeks premature nearly three months earlier and weighed 0.45 kilograms at birth, was taken off life-support systems and died.


Brown played against the Oakland Raiders only three days later, one day after the funeral.


He talked about it publicly for the first time Sunday night.


"I thank God I had the strength to get through the last year," he said. "It was rough. But the organization supported me through everything."


He said he always thinks about it. But with a high-profile job on the field and at his Dallas-area home with 2-year-old daughter Kristen and wife Cheryl to consider, he said he has realized he must move forward.


"It stays on your mind, it stays in the back of your head," Brown said. "But you've got to learn from it. You've got to move on."


He was only a 12th- and final-round draft pick by the Cowboys in 1991.


Even though he was in the starting lineup by the fourth game of his rookie year, and has missed only four starts in the last four years, he was always the guy on the bubble.


He was burned by the San Francisco 49ers' Jerry Rice twice last year -- for a 57-yard touchdown in their regular-season game and a 28-yard touchdown in the playoffs.


It was enough to make Jerry Jones, the owner of whom Brown speaks so fondly, hire Deion Sanders.


But the team's other starting cornerback, Kevin Smith, suffered an Achilles' tendon injury in this season's opening game and has not played since.


When Smith returns next year, Brown will probably again be on the bubble.


"Whatever they want me to do, I'll do," he said, perhaps aware of more important things. "I'm just blessed to be here today."