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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Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Marquand Manuel is the Eagles’ new secondary coach, according to a tweet by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The 40-year-old Manuel replaces Cory Undlin, who had served in that role since 2015, first under Chip Kelly and the last four years under Doug Pederson. Undlin was named Lions defensive coordinator two weeks ago.

Manuel and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz go back a ways. Manuel played for the Lions in 2009 when Schwartz was their head coach.

Manuel was not in the NFL this past year. He spent the previous four years under Dan Quinn with the Falcons, two years as secondary coach and two years as defensive coordinator before getting fired following the 2018 season.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl in his second year in Atlanta, losing to the Patriots in Houston.

Before Atlanta, Manuel spent three years working under Quinn with the Seahawks, holding a variety of titles on the defensive staff.

Manuel, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, was the Bengals’ 6th-round pick in 2002 and spent eight years as a safety in the NFL with six different teams — the Bengals, Seahawks, Packers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions.

He played in 116 games, starting 58, with two interceptions and a pick-6 while he was with the Packers in 2006 off Jon Kitna of the Lions.

The Eagles also reportedly interviewed Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker for the position.

The Eagles already have a safeties coach on the staff, former Eagle Tim Hauck. He was Pederson's teammate with the Eagles in 1999 and has been on Pederson's staff since 2016.

Quinn had this to say about Manuel on the Falcons’ web site back in 2018:

From the time I've met him from now, one thing that's cool to see that has stayed consistent is the energy and enthusiasm he has for players. He made the transition from player to coach really seamlessly because he knew the boundaries of coach, but he also stepped across to say, I can push you. That's not easy to do. He's always had mental quickness of a quarterback or someone who gets concepts really quickly. That transferred into this coaching fast. He can communicate concepts and ideas quickly to people on the run, in the moment, that's a really valuable asset as a coach.

The Eagles still have openings to replace the three assistant coaches Doug Pederson fired: offensive coordinator Mike Groh, wide receivers coach Carson Walch and defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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