Eagles

Brandon Brooks addresses his anxiety-related exit in Sunday's Eagles-Seahawks game

Brandon Brooks addresses his anxiety-related exit in Sunday's Eagles-Seahawks game

Updated: 8:09 a.m.

Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks left Sunday’s 17-9 loss to the Seahawks in the first quarter with what the team called an “illness.”

On Monday morning, head coach Doug Pederson confirmed on 94WIP that Brooks' "illness" was a return of the game-day anxiety that had afflicted the starting right guard earlier in his career.

"Yeah, it’s connected," Pederson said. "I’ll just say this, I’m not going to get into a lot of detail with that. Because, listen, this is a real life issue. This is not a football issue with Brandon. This is a real life issue that he has come out and publicly acknowledged and kind of shared his story a few years back. It’s something that he’s dealing with each and every day of his life. You never really know what triggers it. We’re here to support him, we love him. It is unfortunate that it happened, but it’s something that he deals with every single day. We’re just going to continue to support him."

Shortly after, Brooks acknowledged what happened, via Twitter:


The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane first reported the link. 

After the game, when asked if Brooks’ illness was related to anxiety, Pederson said he hadn’t yet talked to team doctors.

“He just got sick and just had an illness, and we had to make a sudden change,” Pederson said.

Brooks, 30, has previously spoken publicly about his battle with anxiety, but he’s been able to control it for the past few seasons. Brooks hadn’t missed any time because of it since 2016, when he missed two games in a three-game span.

This is an issue that dates back to Brooks’ time with the Texans in Houston, where he also missed games. Back then, Brooks thought he was dealing with stomach ulcers. He didn’t realize it was anxiety until he joined the Eagles.

“For me, it’s just I always want to be perfect in what I do and if I’m not perfect it’s not good enough, and sometimes that just really weighs on you,” Brooks said in 2016.

“And I have to learn how to kind of chill out and understand it’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to not be perfect.”

Brooks has credited his teammate Lane Johnson for helping him to deal with his game-day anxiety. Johnson didn’t play on Sunday because of a concussion he suffered against the Patriots.

Since 2016, Brooks has made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2017 and 2018. And in 2019, he returned from a torn Achilles to play in the season opener after just eight months. And through 10 games in 2019, Brooks was well on his way to another Pro Bowl appearance.

After being on a pitch count in the opener, Brooks had played every offensive snap since Week 2 until Sunday.

With Brooks out against the Patriots, Halapoulivaati Vaitai filled in at right guard for the rest of the first half. But once Andre Dillard was benched to start the third quarter, Big V slid to right tackle and Matt Pryor took over at right guard.

Back on Nov. 11, Brooks signed a four-year contract extension worth $56.2 million, making him the highest-paid guard in the NFL. Based on his play and what he means to the team, the contract extension was warranted.

But this latest reported setback with his anxiety is certainly troubling for him and for the team.

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5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

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USA Today Sports Images/@SirRobin83/Twitter

5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

With professional sports on pause around the world, fans are looking for anything - video games, simulations, classic games - to satisfy that live sports itch.

We may have found the ultimate placeholder: a five-year-old imitating Boston Scott's infamous spin-o-rama.

On Saturday afternoon, Twitter user Robin Stanley tagged Scott in a quick video of his son, Beckett, pretending to be the Eagles running back:

I mean, c'mon: the likeness to Scott's spin move against the Giants is kind of uncanny.

In case you need to jog your memory, here is Scott's spin:

Scott, of course, made fun of himself for the move at the time, admitting that when he saw the clip after the game, it "looked pretty silly".

I'd say Beckett's spin had a little more swag.

Stanley's dad, a Philly native, told NBC Sports Philadelphia his son was expecting to play his first season of flag football this spring down in Nashville, but the league was postponed because of social distancing mandates, so he's making do.

On Saturday, Scott saw Stanley's video and gave the little man a nod of approval:

That's just good, clean fun. Thank you, Beckett, for the sports-related smile.

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Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Four years ago, when Rodney McLeod became a free agent for the first time in his NFL career, one of the reasons he wanted to join the Eagles was for the chance to play next to Malcolm Jenkins. 

And for the last four years, he did. The two formed a safety tandem that played 49 regular season games and four playoff games, including Super Bowl LII, together. 

But now Jenkins is back in New Orleans with the Saints and the Eagles are preparing to play without him for the first time since 2013. Meanwhile, McLeod signed a two-year deal to return to Philly. 

On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, McLeod said he learned a lot from Jenkins over the past four seasons. 

What were some of those lessons? 

Just as a competitor,” McLeod said. “And then the ability to get the most out of guys, whether it’s on the defensive side or from an entire team standpoint. I think as a leader, that’s your kind of job. How can you get guys to play at the highest level and get the most out of your players. I think he was one of the best at doing that and understanding everyone … I learned a lot from him. 

“Not just on the field but off the field, the way he handled himself and what he did in the community for the city. I’ll always admire him. It’s hard to match. But like I said, his legacy will live on. The Saints are getting a good guy. Now, us as Eagles, playing with a new group of guys and we’re ready to move forward.

There’s no question that the Eagles are going to miss Jenkins’ contributions on the field. They will use some combination of Jalen Mills and Will Parks to replace him at that position and that won’t be easy. 

But the Eagles will also miss the leadership Jenkins brought to the locker room. He wasn’t just the leader of the secondary or even just the defense; Jenkins was oftentimes the key leader for the entire team. That’s hard to replace too. 

It’s not that McLeod, 29, hasn’t been a leader during his first four years in Philly. But now that role might need to expand and will become more important with the absence of Jenkins. 

“I think it’s important for me to be myself and be who I’ve always been,” McLeod said. “And that’s a guy that leads by his actions and leads by example. I think if you ask a lot of guys on the team, that’s what they’ll tell you most. Actions sometimes speak louder than words. I think there will be times for me to speak up when needed. When my teammates need me most, I’ll be ready to do that.”

For the most part, McLeod has been the quieter of the two safeties and Jim Schwartz has previously called him the calming presence in the defensive backfield.

But McLeod can speak up too. 

It’s really just about finding a balance between his two sides and putting the lessons from Jenkins into practice in 2020. 

“Myself, being a leader on this team for some time, will of course be asked to step up as well as other guys from a defensive standpoint and on the team,” McLeod said. “I think we’re prepared for that. And guys will be willing to step up to the plate and accept the challenge. Myself first and foremost.”

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