Born: August 10, 1952
Brison A.Manor Jr. was born August 10, 1952 in Bridgeton. Big, fast and energetic, Brison excelled in football as a boy and became the star of the Bridgeton High Bulldogs in the late 1960s as a defensive end. He stood 6’4” when he graduated in 1971, yet did not receive scholarship offers from any major football programs.
Brison attended Pratt Community College in Kansas, which had a good football team. Scouts from the University of Arkansas were impressed with his play at PCC and offered him a full ride. He played two seasons for head coach Frank Broyles and his defensive line coach, Jimmy Johnson, who would go on to coach the Cowboys and Dolphins.
Brison was part of an experiment in desegregation, along with Johnnie Meadors and Dennis Winston. All three were defensive players. The Razorbacks went 5–5–1 in 1973 and 6–4–1 in 1974, including a season-opening win over powerhouse USC. Brison played defensive tackle and was among the team leaders in tackles, with 91 as a junior and 82 as a senior.
The New York Jets drafted Brison in the 15th round and he was one of the last players cut in training camp. He returned to Little Rock and got a job at a Ford dealership. He continued to pursue his NFL dream and, in 1976, signed with the Denver Broncos. A knee injury kept him off the field that season, but in 1977 he was part of Denver’s amazing Orange Crush defense as a second-string defensive end.
The Broncos played the Raiders in the AFC title game and won 20–17. Brison made a key fumble recovery in that victory. The Broncos faced the Cowboys in the Super Bowl that season. Brison and his defensive teammates did a good job against Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett, but the offense could not get going and Craig Morton three 4 INTs in a 27–10 loss.
Brison played for the Broncos through the 1983 season. He was the team’s starting right defensive end in 1979 and 1980. In 1984, after a trade, he played one final season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, finishing with 5 career sacks, 3 fumble recoveries and one interception.
Throughout his NFL career, Brison continued to work selling cars in the off-season. He also became a certified financial planner, so he had a successful second career after football. In 2011, Brison was inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame. Today he lives and works in Little Rock. His son, Brison III, was an all-state lineman who went on to play for Rutgers. In 2015, every player who'd ever played in the Super Bowl was given a gold ball by the NFL to present to his high school team. Brison gave his to Bridgeton High in a fall ceremony.