Brandon Brooks: Body by jiu jitsu and Taco Bell


By now you’ve probably seen the photo. Sorry, the photo.

A little over a year ago, as the Eagles were preparing for their 2020 training camp, Brandon Brooks was already a few weeks past surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon but was already working out again.

Even though everyone knew he was out for the 2020 season, the photo Brooks shared on Instagram garnered a lot of attention. In the photo, Brooks was shirtless and looking less like an NFL offensive lineman and more like a chiseled Greek god.

“Man, I got texts from guys around the league,” Brooks said on Monday, over a year after he posted the photo. “(Former teammate) Arian Foster said, ‘If you get popped for steroids I’m going to laugh at you.’ I know there were some people who thought I might have had some extra help but I did get like three drug tests right after that. Passed those, so all good.”

Brooks, who turns 32 in August, began doing jiu jitsu last offseason and it got him into incredible shape. So even after he ruptured his Achilles, he kept doing it and he thinks it really helped with his rehab.

“I think everybody when they’re in high school, the most conditioned athletes were wrestlers,” he said. “Doing the jiu jitsu stuff in the offseason, I got in really good shape. It helped me as far as rehab, I got my weight down. Obviously, I’m back to where I need to be now and that was the plan. It’s kind of like cross-training, doing something different. But it still applies to the game.”


In the photo — sorry, the photo — Brooks was down to 285 pounds, a huge difference from his listed weight of 335.

In the 53 weeks since that photo, Brooks rehabbed completely from his second Achilles surgery and also managed to put back all the weight he lost.

“The biggest thing was I wanted to go down (in weight) to rehab the Achilles and go from there,” he said. “But I always knew that I obviously needed to get back up because I don’t want to get thrown on my head.”

Brooks on Monday said he’s back up to 330 pounds after a gradual incline over a year span.

How did he put the weight back on? Well, it came down to eating more while still making sure he was putting on good weight. But he did allow himself to return to enjoying one of his favorites: Taco Bell.

What’s a typical Taco Bell order for a 300-plus-pound offensive lineman?

“I’m going to be honest with you, I used to love the Mexican pizzas and they took it off the menu,” he said. “I was deeply hurt about that. I don’t know, man, you can go in there and get some tacos, the party pack. Twelve tacos, eat six one day, six the next.”

If you’re wondering, Brooks isn’t alone in his sorrow about the removal of the Mexican pizza from the Taco Bell menu. In fact, this online petition that was created in an attempt to save the item has over 165,000 signatures.

While Brooks still mourns the loss of the Mexican pizza, the party pack which includes 12 tacos, is still a winner. And it’s easy to see how they helped him pack the pounds back on. According to Taco Bell’s website, one of their tacos is 170 calories, so eating six of them means Brooks was putting down 1,020 calories in a sitting.

Brooks is completely healed from his Achilles surgery, but tweaked his right hamstring on Day 2 of training camp and has now missed several days of practice. The injury came when he got downfield to block a linebacker on a run play last Wednesday.

The good news is that Brooks on Monday said he’s feeling good and said his being out is more of a precaution.

“No worries going forward,” he said.

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