There's no question that Bills seventh-round pick Levi Brown has a passion for football. Anyone that's willing to transfer up (from 1-AA to 1-A) halfway through their college career for what he hoped would be a better chance to get playing time has football coursing through his veins. For Brown though, there is also a secondary passion that he carries with him every day.
The former Troy quarterback is an advocate for the fight against genocide in the African nations of Congo, Sudan and Uganda.
"The way I found out about it was about four years ago when one of my friends was telling me about the atrocities going on over there," Brown told Buffalobills.com. "It was odd because there were hundreds of thousands of people being slaughtered and millions more getting driven from their homes.
"A lot of people don't know about it because the media doesn't cover it very much. It kind of took me off guard and I was surprised that something like that could be happening without knowing about it. So I took it upon myself to at least raise awareness for it."
Interested in gaining a greater understanding for what was going on in Africa, Brown got his hands on a couple of telling books on the subject.
"One of them is called, The Devil Came on Horseback by Brian Steible," said Brown. "Another one is about some of the conflicts in Sierra Leone. It's called A Long Day Gone and that's by Ismael Deah. He was actually a child in Sierra Leone and he was abducted and was forced to fight in one of the rebel groups there. He had to do a lot of terrible things and was forced to murder people. He managed to escape and made it to America and wrote this book. It was very eye-opening and helped to make me very passionate about this."
Brown has used his local celebrity in Troy, Alabama as the Trojans quarterback to raise awareness by doing radio and television interviews. He's also donated what money he can to various causes in Africa and has sponsored a fellow Troy student, who is trying to raise money to make a mission trip to Uganda.
"The thing that really struck a chord with me was the things that happen to children over there," said Brown. "I've read a lot of books on it and done some research on it. I'm a political science major so I've written quite a few papers on it. During my research, some of the things I've read are just unbelievable."
One of the more appalling acts for Brown is the pillaging of villages and mass murder being orchestrated by the LRA (Lords of Resistance Army) a rebel outfit that kills as many adults as possible in towns and villages and then abducts the children.
"Basically they brainwash the children and use the boys to fight and the girls are basically sex slaves," said Brown. "They call them their "wives," but basically they're sex slaves."
Brown has donated to two particular causes in northern Uganda. One organization called 'Invisible Children' supports the orphaned children while another tries to free the child soldiers. The Bills newest quarterback wears an awareness bracelet supporting the 'Invisible Children' effort.
Now in the NFL, Brown is hopeful that once he gets a bit more settled in his new surroundings of Buffalo and more established as an NFL player that he'll be able to establish a foundation of his own. With the help of NFL Charities he believes he'll really be able to make a difference.
"I've been thinking about that for quite a while," admitted Brown. "I've made it a point to talk about this quite often in my time at Troy. But I've been excited about making it to the NFL. It'll be even more of a platform to raise awareness for this cause, and inspire people to try and help. Money is what drives things and right now I don't have a lot of it. But I have donated what I can because I know every little bit helps." To donate to 'Invisible Children' just visit their website.