After seven years in the NFL, first as a scout for the Indianapolis Colts and most recently as the director of player personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles, Brandon Brown has returned to his New York roots.

Last month, the Long Island native, a 2010 graduate of Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business and a former defensive back for the Rams, was named assistant general manager of the New York Giants.

In his new role, Brown is helping to lead the Giants’ player personnel department and assisting in other areas, including college scouting.

A Giant Connection

He’s also extending a long history of connections between the Giants and his alma mater that began with the team’s longtime owner Wellington Mara, a 1937 Fordham graduate who led the Giants to six league championships, including two Super Bowls. Mara’s Fordham classmate Vince Lombardi started his Hall of Fame NFL coaching career as an assistant with the Giants, and Wellington’s son John, a 1979 Fordham Law graduate, is the team’s current president and co-owner.

For more than 25 years, another Fordham graduate, Bob Papa, GABELLI ’86, has been the radio voice of the Giants. Last month, he sat down with Brown on Giants Huddle: Front Office Edition and asked him about the historic connections between the two New York institutions.

“When you think of Fordham, you think of the Lombardi Center, and Vince Lombardi, and his ties to the Giants, and of course Wellington Mara. Do you get a sense of an added responsibility knowing the history of everything?” Papa asked.

Brown said that growing up hearing stories of these Hall of Famers gave him a sense of responsibility to carry their work forward.

“The word that comes to my mind is nostalgia, right? It’s all the stories you hear about, one, when you step on campus at Fordham, and then after being on campus, the responsibility that you have as a student-athlete while you’re there, to not just represent the name on the back of your jersey, if you’re playing, but also the logo on the front, which is the team,” he said.

That same sense of history and responsibility is embedded in the Giants organization, he said.

“It’s no different, it’s a carryover. And we all have, like I said, a responsibility to not just do our best, but exhaust all the resources and be progressive and forward thinking so we can get back to where we want to be,” he said of the Giants, who have won four Super Bowls in their history but have struggled in recent years.

To get back that level of success, Brown believes it’s important for people throughout the organization to share a similar vision.

“The term I like to use is synergy,” he said. “It’s having open-door communication, where a good idea can come from anywhere. And when we find a player, it’s not your guy, it’s not my guy, it’s our guy.”

Brown said when he’s scouting players, he often employs a cura personalis approach, considering the whole person and what they might bring to the organization.

“We need to know how the guy is from a 360-degree view—what he is in the building, what he is on the field, and what he is in the community, because all of that plays a factor into what our brand is and what our style of ball is,” Brown said.

Making a Career Pivot

Brown had initially wanted to play in the NFL, but after realizing that he would not get drafted by a pro team, he worked with his Fordham mentor, Christopher Gulotta, FCLC ’82, to set new goals.

“It was a sad realization for a truly gifted athlete who worked tirelessly since he was 10 years old on his fitness, technique, and understanding of the game,” Gulotta told Fordham Magazine in 2019. “Yet he pulled himself up by the bootstraps, accepted this new reality, improved his academics, attended law school, and found his way back to his true passion as a football scout for Boston College.”

In the same article, Brown said that Gulotta helped him figure out his next steps.

“Chris was like a sounding board for me,” he said. “He was like, ‘Hey, can I help you think through that?’ He wasn’t pushing. That’s where I think the foundation for a long-term relationship was built for us.”

Since then, the two have become very close.

“I don’t even consider him a mentor anymore,” Brown said. “I consider him a family friend who I lean on heavily for advice.”

In 2019, Fordham and the Giants established a partnership that provides academic programming and internships for students and marketing opportunities for the University. They also have taken part in joint community engagement efforts, including helping distribute resources, school supplies, and other items to the victims of a deadly Bronx fire in January 2022.