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Jets’ Duane Brown receives ‘Selfless Warrior’ honor for ‘sacrifice’

Duane Brown isn’t going back to Seattle with a chip on his shoulder. 

He has enough pain from playing through a torn rotator cuff without carrying any extra figurative weight. 

Brown will start at left tackle Sunday for the Jets against the Seahawks, who let him walk in free agency — even after he made the Pro Bowl last year in his age-36 season, his fifth in Seattle — because of a plan to go with rookies as the bookends to their offensive line. 

“I never felt anybody owed me anything in this league,” Brown told The Post. “If you look at all moves they made, there were a lot of veterans they moved on from. I don’t have any animosity toward them, but at the same time I want to win.” 

When the Jets announced their annual team awards Friday, Brown was the recipient of the newly created “Selfless Warrior” honor voted on by the coaches for “giving the most of himself to the team.” 

Duane Brown participates in drills on Wednesday.
Duane Brown participates in drills on Wednesday.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

“It is very rare, very rare for someone like Duane Brown to go through a season like he has and to sacrifice what he has when he [doesn’t need] to sacrifice anything,” head coach Robert Saleh said. “There’s a reason why he’s had so many years [15] in the league, there’s a reason why he’s got many more years left in the league, and there’s a reason why he’s been a [five-time] Pro Bowler for so long and he’s made so much money.” 

Asked about the specifics of his sacrifice, Brown pointed to his shoulder. 

“I’m grateful for the environment they’ve created here,” Brown said. “They appreciate that I’ll do whatever to be out there every Sunday. If I’m out there, I’m expected to play at a high level.” 

Brown joined the Jets late in training camp and quickly injured his shoulder. He missed the first four games, but opted against season-ending surgery, which was important then because Mekhi Becton was out for the season and George Fant was banged up. His presence became even more important when the Jets lost Alijah Vera-Tucker and Max Mitchell for the year. 

“It’s not easy to play through,” Brown admitted. “I didn’t have to play to make my [$10 million] this year, but I’m here to do my job. It was instilled in me by my parents to have an extremely hard work ethic. In this league, if you are a young player, you are trying to prove you belong. In your prime, trying to prove that you can be elite. If you are a super vet, trying to show you can still do it at a high level and trying to show the young guys how to be resilient.” 

Duane Brown
Duane Brown was awarded the ‘Selfless Warrior’ honor.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who was voted team MVP, marveled at what Brown endures. Brown has allowed one sack on 409 pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus. 

“Maybe the biggest inspiration in this locker room just to see the pain he goes through week-in and week-out at the age that he is, with the money he’s made and all the accolades he has,” Williams said. “He could’ve been selfish and worried about himself, but he laid it on the line for a group of guys he just met this year. I want to become the type of veteran and leader that he is.” 

The respect crosses the line of scrimmage against the Seahawks. 

“I have a lot of great memories and friendships there,” Brown said. “It’s loud and the fan base creates a hostile environment for opposing teams. We’re both playing for a lot, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

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