13-year Chicago vet CJ Brown mulls what comes next

Fire original out of contract after 2010

BRIDGEVIEW Ill. — A disheartened C.J. Brown told assembled members of the media after the Fire’s 2-0 loss to the Wizards Tuesday night that he doesn’t know if he’ll be back in uniform next season.

“I’ve put a lot of thought into that,” Brown said about his plans for next year. “Every day, me and my wife battle with it. We try to figure out what’s the best opportunity and what’s going to happen with me next year. Right now it’s up in the air.”

Brown, 35, is the last remaining Fire original. The veteran center back has spent his entire 13-year MLS career in Chicago. He leads the team with 25 appearances this year but will be out of contract at the end of the season.

“If I keep getting beat up like this”— Brown picked up a knee injury Tuesday night—“I definitely won’t do it but I don’t know,” Brown said. “The body sometimes feels great, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s the same story I tell everybody, I’m not sure. I’ll know in the next few weeks.”

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Brown said that the Fire’s disappointing 2010 campaign—the team will miss the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history this year—won’t push him toward retirement.

“[A poor season] would motivate me to come back and do things better,” he said. “That’s been my motivation most years; it’s what I can do better to help the team so I try to come back one more year to make things better. This would be the perfect reason to stay, to try to go out on the right note. [This year’s] definitely frustrating but I wouldn’t let that be the reason why I would leave, that’s for sure.”

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.