If there is one word that could be used to describe Doug Pederson’s tenure as Eagles Head Coach thus far, it’s culture. A word that many use frequently but few really understand the magnitude of. It’s easy to look at a Super Bowl champion and state that they ‘have a winning culture’, but it is incredibly difficult to rally a locker room of 53 men through a tumultuous first offseason and 16 games and then through all the adversity that would follow in 2017. However, if there is one man that embodies everything this new breed of Eagles player stands for, it’s Brandon Brooks.
The right guard signed a five-year contract with the Eagles in the 2016 offseason. After a breakout season in Houston, the 28-year old was rewarded for his efforts with a long-term future secured. The Eagles bolstered the trenches to create the best offensive front in football and the scary part is, it’s only going to get better.
While Brooks dominates on the field, making glorious blocks and throwing it back to the olden and more imposing days of Football, it’s what he does away from the field that really stands out. During his short time with the Eagles, we’ve come to learn a lot about the type of man Brooks really is.
Our first insight of course was his confidence in approaching the media and opening up about his battle with anxiety. This internal war with obsessing over perfection led to vomiting before games. There is a huge stigma around mental health in today’s society, especially among men. But in a locker room of 53 alpha-males, standing at 6’5, 355 lbs, one can only imagine how difficult it must have been to open up and share his fight with his teammates. The Eagles had his back. The fans had his back. The world had his back. Unfazed by his anxiety, something he has dealt with for a long time, Brooks had a brilliant first season in midnight green, inspiring many across the world that they too can fight through inner demons that hold them back.
It would only be fitting that after such a strong year, Brooks reaps the rewards. However, instead of posting on social media about the stereotypical offseason topics such as money or clubbing, Brooks posted a heartfelt message to his Father that read:
“Growing up we didn’t always see eye to eye and one day you told me I’d understand. At that time I thought “yeah whatever, why can’t you just let me run the streets and be left alone”. Once I graduated college and started living on my own at 23, I started to see and at 27 and I’m starting to understand.
The reason you were so hard on me was for my benefit. You didn’t want me to be a statistic. It was to make me allergic to average. It was to create a work ethic that would allow me to reach dreams no matter what they were or how the cards were stacked against me.
I realize now it’s not always the easiest deal to be a Father to a child while going through a divorce and spend half the time with your son. While trying to be the role model I need knowing I was watching your every move and would emulate you. Although I can never pay you back, this is a small token of appreciation. I love you Pops.”
This message was attached to a tweet showcasing a brand new Range Rover for his Father that Brandon had bought as a gift. The selflessness of Brooks was on full display and again won the hearts of Eagles fans everywhere.
But his act earlier today may have been the most warming yet. It was reported earlier this week that Super Bowl MVP quarterback, Nick Foles, had agreed to a contract restructure that ensured he would be rewarded for his valiant postseason efforts. How could a cap-strapped Eagles team afford that? Brandon Brooks.
The interior guard sacrificed his own contract, restructuring his own deal in order to give the quarterback he protected so well, some more money. If that isn’t the most selfless thing you’ve seen this week, I don’t know what is.
If your wondering about the restructure I get 4 mill now 4mill by sept 1 with a couple hundred thousand over the season. The reason I did it was bc the FUCKIN SB MVP DESERVED MORE MONEY @NickFoles . Love you bro #WhateverItTakes
— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) April 23, 2018
What makes this Philadelphia Eagles team great? They battle through the storm, no matter what the odds may say. No challenge is too great, no opponent too tall, no championship out of reach. But what really stands out, is that they’re willing to go to hell and back for one another. Most locker rooms have this culture, of course they do, but what we’re seeing in Philadelphia is something so different. Something so pure and special that money isn’t an object. Something so genuine that players would rather earn less in order to be a part of what could be a once-in-a-lifetime era.
Brandon Brooks epitomizes what it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle. To wear his heart on his sleeve, to leave it all on the line for his teammates and truly understand what really matters outside of the sidelines inside Lincoln Financial Field. If there was ever a statue to be exemplified as what the prototypical Philadelphia Eagles role model should be, it would be molded after Brandon Brooks.
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports