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Swamp brings back memories for ESPN reporter Jenn Brown

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Posted: Monday, September 21, 2009 12:00 am

Jenn Brown has 17 unopened law school admission notices hidden in a box somewhere.

Now 28 and one of ESPN's rising correspondents, she's in no hurry to open the envelopes from Harvard, Yale and Stanford.

Brown, a 2003 UF criminology graduate, is now the only female correspondent for Showtime's "Inside the NFL," as well as a prominent personality for ESPNU's "Road Trip," a gig that brought her back to the Swamp Saturday after six years.

"It didn't hit me until I got off the exit at Archer," Brown said. "It was like, 'Wow, I'm back.' It's that surreal moment when it hits you. [It's] where you spend some of the best years of your life."

Although she said her four years in the heart of The Gator Nation were some of the best of her life, Brown said her return with ESPN reminds her of all the fun she missed in college by dedicating her time to academics and the varsity softball team.

She said her career in sports broadcasting was an accident. As a criminology student, she intended to go to law school after taking a year off to prepare for the LSAT.

During that time a friend asked her if she could fill in as a model for "Bikini Destinations," an HDNet show.

Soon, Brown was offered the opportunity to host segments on the show and left her law school dreams behind. She flew to Los Angeles two weeks later to host HDNet's "The Wild Side."

"Literally, I would wake up every day, and I couldn't believe people were paying me to travel around the world and do the most amazing things you could do in any country," she said.

An ESPN employee approached Brown and said the network was looking for a new face and not "another 30-year-old white guy."

A self-proclaimed tomboy, Brown admits her job in sports takes her to new levels in a career usually reserved for men.

"I remember being on the playground as a little kid racing the boys. I was always the first picked for kickball," Brown said.

Brown said women have proven themselves, especially in sports broadcasting. She pointed to Erin Andrews, a fellow Gator and ESPN sports commentator, as a source of inspiration.

"I don't feel like I have to prove myself. I got the job. I got it for a reason," she said. "I do more lifestyle pieces. I love the ability to humanize the players that we don't get to see."

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