Eagles new receivers coach Gunter Brewer will get to coach Alshon Jeffery for the first time this season, but he’s known him for almost a decade.
And he can’t wait to finally get his No. 1 receiver back on the field.
“His being a southern guy like myself,” Brewer said with his drawl. “I enjoy his demeanor and not only the way he talks but just the way he’s got that swagger and confidence. I’m looking forward to when he is out there, seeing him snatch balls out of the air.”
Jeffery is still on the Active/PUP list after rotator cuff surgery and might be in jeopardy of missing the start of the season, but head coach Doug Pederson seems happy with Jeffery’s progress so far. So … wait and see.
Brewer, whom the Eagles hired after promoting Mike Groh to offensive coordinator, came from the University of North Carolina. But he first met Jeffery after the 2010 college football season at the 2010 college football awards ceremony in Florida at Walt Disney World.
At the time, Brewer was there because he was co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Oklahoma State and his star receiver, Justin Blackmon, was also nominated for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, handed out annually to the best receiver in college football.
The two spent a couple days “chewing the fat” within the group. After that, Brewer followed Jeffery’s career. According to Brewer, Jeffery still recalls the meeting and the couple days together.
“He remembered he should have won it,” Brewer said with a smile.
Of course, that’s pretty debatable. Blackmon ended up winning the award after a tremendous season. He beat out Jeffery (South Carolina) and Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma).
Here are their stats from that year:
Jeffery: 88 catches, 1,517 yards, 9 touchdowns
Blackmon: 111 catches, 1,782 yards, 20 touchdowns
Broyles: 131 catches, 1,622 yards, 14 touchdowns
A couple years later, all three players went in the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL draft. Blackmon went fifth overall, Jeffery and Broyles went in the second round, at picks 45 and 54, respectively.
All three had great college careers, but Jeffery is the only one still in the league. Injuries derailed Broyles' career and off-the-field issues took Blackmon out of the NFL. Both haven’t played since the 2014 season.
Meanwhile, Jeffery is coming off a season in which he played through a torn rotator cuff, got a big contract and won the Super Bowl. He probably isn’t very upset about not winning the Biletnikoff Award anymore.
Brewer hasn’t gotten to coach Jeffery on the field yet, but he’s been around him plenty in the building and in the meeting room. He’s enjoyed that part of it, at least.
“He’s in every meeting,” Brewer said. “He does everything everybody else does. Nothing different. He’s great with the young kids, although you wouldn’t know it because he’s soft-spoken. He’ll pull one off the side, ‘should have done this the other game.’ I had him over by us and he was great about it. ‘Coach, you see that?’ He has his way of delivering that. When he talks, people listen.”
Brewer certainly did nearly a decade ago. Now, they get to do it on the same team.