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Former NFL safety Sergio Brown is missing after his mother was found dead near a creek behind her home in Illinois over the weekend. The Maywood Police Department has not said whether Brown is a person of interest or suspect.

Myrtle Brown, 73, died from injuries related to an assault and the incident was ruled a homicide, as reported by WBBM.

Police initiated a missing person report after family members were not able to locate Brown and his mother for 72 hours. A neighbor told CBS News he last saw the mother and son in person on Thursday. Myrtle's body was found on Saturday less than a hundred yards from her Chicago-area home. 

"It's a sad but hopeful time, and we will all get through this together. Mom always told me, 'tough times don't last' and our last conversation about tough times being temporary is my beacon of hope," Nick Brown, Sergio's brother, wrote on Instagram. "Mom, thank you for being strong, caring, diligent, fancy, funny, and for saving my art. I won't let you down.

"My brother Sergio is still missing. If anyone knows where he is I want him to know that I love you and please come home."

Brown graduated from Proviso East High School in Maywood and then played college football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He went undrafted in 2010 before signing with the New England Patriots. Brown went on to play a total of seven NFL seasons with the Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.

Authorities are urging anyone with knowledge of the incident to contact Maywood Police.