"We don't want any butchers on this team," part of it goes. "No T shirts in the dining hall. Don't eat with your elbows on the table and eat quietly. We all eat together, every meal, and I want no cliques. I want you to eat at different tables each meal. There is no excuse for missing a meal unless it comes from me. Not an assistant coach or any other official, but from me. I will be at each meal, and I expect you to be."
Brown also warns his players against drinking, smoking and evil companions. "We intend to have good people," he says, "because that's the kind that win the big ones. If you're a drinker or a chaser you'll weaken the team and we don't want you. We're just here for one thing, to win. If I hear you've been drinking, I'll ask you in front of the squad. If you have, you're through. If you have and deny it, you've branded yourself a liar in front of the team.
"You are to watch your dress, your language and the company you keep. When we're traveling, stay away from that stranger who may want to take you to dinner or talk to you in a hotel lobby. Maybe he isn't a gambler or after information, but stay away from him anyway.
"The rules for training camp and on the road are simple. In your room at 10 and lights out at 10:30. Sometimes the coaches make a bed check. There is an automatic fine of $500 for any player who sneaks out after bed check. That sticks, too. I have had to levy fines in the past and I have never rescinded one for subsequent good behavior or meritorious performance."
Brown delivers this speech with deadly seriousness, his blue-gray eyes cold. His own personal habits and table manners are impeccable. He expects the same from his players.
"A few years ago we had a big end," he said after the rehearsal. "I heard he chewed tobacco and spit it on the wall next to his bed. Can you imagine that?"
He peered over his glasses.
"I went to his room," he said. "I told him that I would fine him $500 if he didn't wash down the walls. Then I stood and watched him wash them. Can you imagine living with an animal like that?" The player went on to become All-Pro. Yet there was always, in Brown's mind, a reservation about him.
"If they're sloppy, or drinkers or chasers or whiners, it will show up eventually," he said. "Maybe they can fool us for a little while. Maybe they can even fool themselves. But it will show up eventually, even after they have quit football for good."
Brown is especially unhappy about whiners.