The T-shirt Cam Brown wore under his 47 jersey for the Giants’ first victory over the Washington Football Team blared Boogie on the back, with a picture of his childhood friend on the front, framed with the words, “Forever with us.”
Jonathan Somuah was “Boogie.” He lost his life 14 months ago when the car he was in was struck by a tractor trailer in Laurel, Md. He was 21.
“I know you watching from above,” Brown wrote beneath an Instagram photo of him stretching pregame on the MetLife field. And on the next line below, a tiny heart, and #longliveboogie.
Atop both his Twitter and Instagram are the words: “Rest in Paradise to the ones I’ve lost, I’m balling for y’all now!”
Cam Brown has lost too many.
Brown became a sixth-round draft choice when his phone rang and Joe Judge was on the other end asking: “Are you ready to be a Giant?”
Turns out, he was ready. Cam Brown has been ready for a long time.
He has made a mark on special teams as a gunner and compelled defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to find a role for him at outside linebacker.
Boogie was only the most recent tragedy Brown has endured on his journey from Bullis School in Potomac, Md., to Penn State to his lifelong NFL dream. His personal losses were first chronicled in the Centre Daily Times.
“Those people that passed away wouldn’t want you to just give up and quit on life just ’cause you’re sad because they passed away, I know that for a fact,” Brown told The Post.
Mr. Pete — Peter Warren — was a longtime family friend and culinary chef who would take Brown to school when he transferred from James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md., to Bullis. He lost his life to esophageal cancer in October 2014.
“He became my unofficial godfather over the years,” Brown said. “He meant the world to me. For a point in time, I think I saw him more often than I was seeing my dad.”
Siafa Lavala lived down the street and was friends with Brown’s older brother Greyson. Lavala, who played cornerback at Saint Francis (Pa.), showed him the ropes of the game. Thirteen months after Mr. Pete passed away, Lavala was gone.
“Neither of my brothers played football, my parents didn’t let ‘em play,” Brown said. “He taught me some of the little details and things like that of football.”
Then another childhood friend, Andrew Dantzler, drowned in a lake when Brown was a freshman at Penn State.
“We played Little League basketball together,” Brown said. “We’ve been going to school together since kindergarten. We were real close.”
Within the same week, Brown lost his maternal grandfather Eugene — a larger-than-life figure, to a brain aneurysm.
“He was a real estate mogul in the inner city of New York,” Brown said. “Big-game hunter. Spent most of his free time hunting, lions, tigers, bears, whatever it may have been.”
So now, Cam Brown hunts a promising NFL future.
“It’s man versus man, don’t let the other man win,” Brown said. “That’s pretty much how I go out there. I’m not gonna let another grown man take control of my life for a moment.”
He has impressed the coaches with his physicality, length instincts and passion, and at a rangy 6-foot-5, 233 pounds, a unique skill set.
“Even though we don’t have the best record, it’s just being a part of one of the greatest organizations in sports history in general,” Brown said before the Giants’ two-game win streak.
He was 6 when he began playing for the White Oak Warriors.
“We were two-time national champs,” Brown said proudly.
He was a three-time captain in high school, and at Bullis he played both ways and caught passes from Dwayne Haskins. He blocked a punt in the fourth quarter against Ohio State as a Penn State freshman. He grew up to be a captain his senior year.
He won’t stop carrying the memory of those who can no longer watch him continue to grow.
“I think about those people every day I get to walk out on the field and play football, honestly,” Cam Brown said.
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