“Unbelievable decision”: Orlando Brown Jr’s choice to miss son’s birth to play in Bengals loss to Steelers leaves NFL fans divided

The Cincinnati Bengals, led by offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr, have witnessed one of the most turbulent seasons this year. After starting the 2023 NFL season with a series of losses, they showcased a phenomenal comeback and secured multiple victories. They once again got embroiled in a losing streak before securing three back-to-back victories.

The Bengals this season can be headlined by consecutive defeats and consecutive wins. Their three-game winning streak again came to an end in Week 16. The match was significant for Orlando Brown Jr in another perspective as he had to miss his son’s birth to participate in the match, prompting mixed reaction from the NFL community.

Orlando Brown Jr missed the birth of his son to play for Bengals

The Bengals match against the Pittsburgh Steelers wasn’t just another game for Orlando Brown Jr. While the veteran’s team battled for crucial playoff positioning, his fiancée, Holly Luyah, welcomed their son, Sonny, into the world. With the team away for the game and Sonny arriving unexpectedly early, he found himself torn between two worlds. Sonny, named after Holly’s great-grandfather’s uncle, will join Brown’s 2-year-old child, Orlando Brown III.

Despite the profound significance of witnessing the birth of his child, who was born two weeks earlier, the Bengals star’s commitment to his team led him to make this tough choice. He opted to stay with Cincy in Pittsburgh by relying on modern technology to witness Sonny’s arrival via FaceTime from the locker room following the game.

The four-time Pro Bowler’s decision stemmed from a deep sense of responsibility and dedication to his team. In his words, football represented an irreplaceable opportunity, a fleeting moment that he could barely afford to miss.

“That’s one of those things, at the end of day, I’m thankful she understands and my family understands. For me, football is kind of everything right now. You don’t really get this opportunity back. You don’t get the opportunity to see a birth, either. For me, it was important to be there with the guys in Pittsburgh and to be out there with them”, he said.

However, the game didn’t unfold in the Bengals’ favor. Despite Orlando Brown Jr’s sacrifice, Cincy suffered a 34-11 defeat to the Steelers due to the top-notch combo of Steelers QB Mason Rudolph and WR George Pickens.

Fans in splits following Orlando Brown Jr’s decision

Orlando Brown Jr has missed only one game throughout his six-year career in the NFL. He has played every snap on the struggling offense of the Bengals this season, which dealt with the blow of the season-ending injury of the starting quarterback Joe Burrow.

Though the Bengals’ loss to the Steelers added a bittersweet element to Brown’s sacrifice, many fans lauded him for showcasing incredible commitment and dedication to his squad.

A netizen wrote, “That speaks so much to his dedication to this organization and his guys. Congrats OBJ!”

However, many fans didn’t like the veteran’s action of missing such a major life moment to participate in a blowout loss. The Bengals might not be predicting a loss ahead of the game, but some netizens wrote he should have stayed with his family in that moment.

A fan wrote, “Unbelievable decision, idgaf if it’s the Super Bowl. No parent should miss their child’s birth. As a new father i can promise you it’s so worth it. No trophy or game means more than that moment seeing the thing you love most in this world come to life.”

Meanwhile, some fans decided to mind their own business and wrote it’s their family decision after-all.

A user wrote, “Tough decision. Maybe she wasn’t due for another week or so. His life, his family, his decisions.”

The loss against the Bengals not only impacted the Bengals playoff positioning but also heightened the likelihood of Orlando Brown Jr. spending more time with his growing family as his team would face stiff competition for the final wild-card spot in the AFC against the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns also faced blow in their QB room when Deshaun Watson went down for the whole season, but Joe Flacco has emerged as a protagonist in their struggling time. Now, OBJ will need to push himself more on the offense to secure a potential win against their mighty rival.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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