LINCOLN, Neb. — Back in 1998, 3-year-old Drew Brown would kick a miniature football outside the Nebraska locker room as he and his family waited for big brother and future NFL kicker Kris after games.
Kris’ wife, then his girlfriend, and her brothers would hold up their arms like goal posts as Drew teed up the ball and tried to knock it through.
He was just warming up.
In his four years with the Cornhuskers, Drew has joined Kris among the best kickers in program history. After his four field goals in last week’s win over Purdue, Drew goes into Saturday’s game against Northwestern tied with Kris with a career total of 57.
“He did so much while he was here,” Drew said, “and it’s pretty cool to be able to at least have the chance to pass him.”
The pending accomplishment hasn’t come up between them, though.
“I was with him all day yesterday while I was in Omaha,” Drew said Monday, “and we didn’t say a word about it. So either he’s upset about it or he’s proud of me.”
Kris, a businessman in Omaha since his 12-year NFL career ended in 2010, said he’s extremely proud.
“The thing about Drew that I love is that those things really don’t matter to him,” Kris said. “The only thing he really cares about is winning and whatever he has to do to help the team win. All these personal achievements, I guarantee you he would trade every single one of them for a few more wins.”
Kris was at Nebraska during its greatest era. He won national championships in 1995 and ’97 and set multiple school and NCAA records.
His school records of 57 field goals and 388 points were broken by Alex Henery from 2007-10. Drew, who has 336 career points, is No. 4 on the scoring list and will be hard-pressed to catch Kris for second place.
The two are half-brothers, the sons of Hobert Brown of Southlake, Texas. Drew started playing organized football in seventh grade. By then, Kris was kicking for the Houston Texans and lived about a four-hour drive from Southlake. The two would get together to work on place-kicking in Kris’ free time.
“Once I figured out that I had the ability to do it, I had a great tool beside me to show me the ropes,” Drew said. “It was up to me ultimately to get stronger and stuff like that. He’s a pretty easy inspiration for me to be able to attempt to follow his footsteps.”
Both went to Carroll High in Southlake, and there was never a doubt Drew would accept a Nebraska scholarship, and not just because his brother starred there. His mother, Terri Brown, is from Kimball, Nebraska.
Kris, who wore No. 35 for the Huskers, was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker in 1997. Drew, who wears No. 34, is on the Groza watch list this season.
The two rarely talk about kicking nowadays.
“I’ve always tried to make sure that there was a little bit of a boundary in not providing advice unless he asks for it, just because I didn’t feel like that was my place,” Kris said. “I didn’t want to butt in and give advice to screw him up. There’s only been a couple times he’s sent me some video and said, ‘Hey, I can’t figure out what I’m doing here and can you take a look at it?’ I’ve done that and given him my 2 cents.”
On top of his kicking, Drew also has drawn notice for throwing his body around and making tackles on kick returns each of the last two games.
“The other 10 guys on the field are busting their butts, running down field at full speed, avoiding blockers and trying to make tackles,” he said. “Sometimes you are just not able to make a tackle, and it’s my job to be back there and kind of clean things up.”
Drew has four tackles in four years, two short of Kris’ total of six. And while they don’t talk much about kicking, Kris does offer advice on tackling.
“Whatever you do, don’t hit him with your head,” Kris said. “I did that once in the NFL and had a pretty serious concussion. He’s done a good job at least getting the returner down. I think those plays epitomize how much he really cares.”
This version deletes incorrect reference to Terri Brown being a Nebraska graduate.