Brandon Brooks

Brandon Brooks shares optimistic timeline for 2020 return

Brandon Brooks shares optimistic timeline for 2020 return

After suffering a season-ending injury for the second year in a row, Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks was once again optimistic he’ll be ready for Week 1 — if not much sooner.

Brooks is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder on Thursday, and the three-time Pro Bowler put his timetable for return around summertime, possibly even “toward the end of OTAs.”

“For a couple days, it was like, ‘Damn, another injury, another rehab,’” said Brooks a day after the Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs. “But in the grand scheme of things, I had an Achilles that was much worse, and people were telling me I wasn’t going to come back and do what I did with an Achilles."

“If I had to come back every offseason, if I had the same year I had this past year, I would do it.”

The timing of Brooks’ injury was eerily similar to last season, when he tore his Achilles during the Eagles’ postseason loss to the Saints. This time, he was injured in Week 17.

Brooks explained the dislocated shoulder occurred during a field goal try.

“My arm got bent backwards. When it got bent backwards, it came out of socket and broke the bone at the bottom,” said Brooks, adding doctors could not put it back in place on the field.

The description garnered some sympathetic groans from the throng of reporters huddled around his locker. As bad as it sounded, however, Brooks maintained it’s not as serious as what he went through before.

“I tore my Achilles,” said Brooks. “This is way easier than that. It’s not a big deal.”

Indeed, Brooks’ Achilles injury and the timing so late in the year led many to predict he would miss the start of the 2019 season, if he made it on the field at all.

Already a two-time Pro Bowler, Brooks said at the time the injury only intensified his focus and proclaimed all along he would be in uniform and starting at right guard for the Eagles Week 1. He not only achieved his goal, but arguably played better than any offensive lineman in the NFL this season.

While missing the Eagles’ playoff game was tough for Brooks, he knows what it takes to regain an elite form.

“Injury, surgery, rehab, recovery,” said Brooks. “The timetable is a lot shorter, but for the first two or three months, it’ll be about the same.”

The shoulder is perhaps a tad more significant than Brooks is letting on. The surgery must fix both the bone and additional damage caused by the dislocation.

“A little piece of bone, basically they’re gonna put it back on, suture, place two sutures in the front and kind of rope it,” said Brooks. “The bone itself will grow back, and the labrum they’ll just repair and rehab in a couple months.”

Perhaps the biggest difference this time around — besides the injury itself, of course — is Brooks won’t face nearly as many doubters about his ability to come back and play at the highest level.

“Obviously, it’s not something that I want,” said Brooks. “But if it drives me the way it did last season, it’s not all bad.”

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Brandon Brooks is the Eagles' biggest All-Pro snub

Brandon Brooks is the Eagles' biggest All-Pro snub

About a half hour after Eagles center Jason Kelce was named to his third consecutive All-Pro team, he called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.”

But “the best offensive lineman in the NFL” didn’t join him on the All-Pro team. 

No other way to put this: Brooks is an egregious snub. 

There’s a reason the Eagles made the 30-year-old Brooks the highest-paid offensive guard in the league earlier this season. There’s a reason the folks at ProFootballFocus rave about him. There’s a reason Brooks gave up just one sack this season. 

The Associated Press All-Pro team is voted on by a panel of 50 media members around the country. They got this one wrong. 

Brooks didn’t even make the second team at right guard. 

Cowboys right guard Zack Martin was on the first team with 24 votes. Baltimore’s Marshal Yanda was a second-teamer with 16 votes. Brooks took just nine votes to come in third. 

No disrespect to Martin and Yanda, but Brooks deserved to make the team. When someone uses the word snub, which is often overused, I always say, “Well, who would you take off the list?” 

If I ask myself that question about this vote, it’s an easy answer: I’d take both of them off the list to put Brooks on it. Brooks had a dominating 2019 season. 

For all its flaws, ProFootballFocus is a valuable tool to evaluate offensive linemen. It provides numerical data for a position that otherwise wouldn’t have any. And PFF loves Brooks. 

This season, Brooks was PFF’s top guard with a career-high 92.9 rating. He gave up just 19 total pressures and just one sack. And he was tremendous in the run game and on screens. 

While Lane Johnson has a case to be called a snub this year too, Johnson played in just 12 of 16 games. He missed a quarter of the season. Brooks didn’t. 

Brooks missed time in three games this season. In the opener after coming back from an Achilles tear, he was on a pitch count. In the first game against Seattle, he played just 12 snaps before he was forced out of the game with a recurrence of his anxiety symptoms. And in the regular-season finale, he left after 39 snaps when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. 

Despite all that, Brooks still played 1,064 snaps out of 1,183 (90 percent) this season. He was the Eagles’ best and most consistent offensive lineman all season. 

And Brooks played just 58 fewer snaps than Martin and played 77 more than Yanda. 

It’s worth noting that both Martin and Yanda had previously been named first-team All-Pros before. It can take time to buck familiarity in voting, especially for positions like offensive guard. But Brooks should have done enough. 

This season, he came back from an Achilles tear in less than eight months and immediately played at an even higher level than when he left. Last month, he was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl team. 

Brooks is facing another surgery and rehab this offseason, but after what he did last offseason, there’s no doubt he’ll be able to come back better than ever. 

Maybe that’ll finally be enough to get him on the All-Pro team. 

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Jason Kelce named an all-pro for 3rd time in career

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Jason Kelce named an all-pro for 3rd time in career

The case for Jason Kelce as the best center of his generation an a potential Hall of Fame candidate got stronger Friday when he was named first-team all-pro for the third time in his brilliant career.

He’s the eighth player in franchise history to earn first-team all-pro honors from the Associated Press three times. 

"Jason Kelce epitomizes what this team is all about,” Doug Pederson said earlier in the day. “I could spend this entire press conference talking about what he means to this team and what he means to me."

Chuck Bednarik and Reggie White (6 times), Pete Pihos and Steve Van Buren (five times) and Brian Dawkins and Al Wistert (four times) are the only players to earn all-pro more than Kelce since the AP began giving out the award in 1940. 

All are Hall of Famers except Wistert, who is a seniors finalist this year. Hall of Famer Bob Brown and Keith Jackson are also three-time all-pros.

Kelce is the 13th center in history to receive all-pro honors three or more times. Of the 12 others, 11 are in the Hall of Fame — all but Clyde Smith, who played for the Providence Cowboys, Cleveland Bulldogs and Providence Steam Roller in the 1920s (and made a pre-AP version of the NFL all-pro team).

Last month, Kelce was named to his third Pro Bowl team. This is the first time in his career he’s been named all-pro and a Pro Bowler the same season.

Kelce was the 191st player taken in the 2011 draft. He’s the 13th offensive lineman in NFL history drafted in the sixth round or later to earn all-pro honors at least three times and the first since Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright of the Cowboys in the early 1970s.

Kelce hasn’t missed a game since 2014. 

The only other centers to earn three all-pro first-team honors in the last 30 years are Steelers Hall of Famer Dermontti Dawson in the 1990s and Kevin Mawae more recently with the Jets and Titans.

Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson finished third in balloting at guard and tackle. The AP issues only a first and second team. Malcolm Jenkins and Fletcher Cox each got a vote.

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