Let’s go, Brandon — and thanks

While we are forgetting our misguided love affair with Carson Wentz, and while we are trying to wash the taste of Ben Simmons out of our mouth, let’s pause to say goodbye to Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks, who announced his retirement at a news conference and also with a full page ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer and maybe other papers.

Brandon Brooks in action (Photo: Fox News)

What he showed in a word, was class.

Also gratitude.

These words are foreign to the overpraised underachievers named Wentz and Simmons. They started out promising, but when adversity breathed on them, they shattered.

For his part, Brooks played the dirtiest, least-appreciated position on the gridiron — guard. I speak from experience. I was one for a while on my high school football team. In those days, you played both offense and defense.

The only difference was that on offense your face got pushed into the mud, while on defense you pushed the other guy’s face in the mud.

My coach taught me how to come up from a 4-point stance with my claws upturned, to rip my opponent’s face. Hidden by the center and tackles — and in a position no one watched — you could get away with it.

And mine was an elite school. I soon washed out.

But this isn’t about me. I mention my experience only to explain that playing the guard position sucks major donkey dick.

In addition to the physical pounding, Brooks came clean in 2016 with a revelation that he suffers from anxiety — panic attacks — that caused him to miss a couple of games.

This was years before brother Eagle Lane Johnson missed games for mental reasons and long before Olympian Simone Biles quit competition, followed by tennis star Naomi Osaka. 

I can relate as I had suffered from panic attacks over a few decades, although I never missed a deadline. The attacks usually followed a period of intense stress. 

I tamed them by learning relaxation techniques, plus popping a Xanax if I needed immediate help.

Maybe more than you needed to know.

At 32, Brandon had a 10-year career, six with the Eagles, and three Pro Bowls. The average NFL career is 3.3 years, so he was well above average, but he was plagued with injuries and decided to listen to his body, which was saying Enough!

In his full page ad, he thanked fellow players, he thanked owners and front office, he thanked coaches, of course.

But he also thanked the training staff, the weight room staff, the cafeteria workers and others you might not have thought of.

Of course, he thanked the fans.

He got us, and we got him because we recognized his as one of the guys who left nothing in the locker room. He was one of the guys with dirty jerseys and bloody noses who played the game like his hair was on fire.

Take note, Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons.

9 thoughts on “Let’s go, Brandon — and thanks”

    You’re just full of surprises . High school football, panic attacks and for the best or worse – me.
    I don’t follow sports. I used to. I knew a few Eagles from the old days, some of the Broad Street Bullies and one or two soccer players. Back then, nobody had panic attcks. Maybe they would see a dragon fly by in the middle of a game or decided to lick their bus clean while stuck in traffic, coming home from a Giant’s game. The old timers had their way to get release. ( not say’n’ that it was better )
    Professional sports back then was completely different than what we have today. Sure, the guys played hard, and partied just as hard. But there was a code of honor.
    Apparently, Brandon Brooks would have been on the honor roll back then, as well.

  2. Imagine how his parents feel and all those he is grateful to.
    That’s class. So nice to see. I see this in Joel Embiid.

    Wow, Stu, you played offense and defense just like Concrete Charlie.😇

  3. It is a shame that Brandon’s career was cut short by injury. I can only imagine how difficult it was to endure rehab after rehab. I wish him well in his new life. Classy guy. That being said, I would have loved seeing him play with Lane, Jordan, Jason and the kid from Alabama. What a line that would be!

  4. We all do comparisons of different stages of our life against the way sports were played over a long period. I had the luck of friends and a title that allowed me to see firsthand the somber and painful moments of both the body and mind after the game was over. A good friend who was a legend on getting knocked down and bouncing right back up was Tommy McDonald. I worked for the Eagles for nine years being in the dressing room and on the field during the game compliments of Leonard Tose as his security. I only wished he let me monitor him in Atlantic City. You are on point about the cost the players leave on the field and in their mental state to reach that slim number out of the thousands that seek to be a pro. One old-timer who was a legend and a Philadelphia sports hero was Steve Van Buren, whose rushing record took 64 years to break at a salary of $15.000 dollars. Fans love it when a player stays in their city for their career, but the money always overcomes allegiance. Brandon would have loved to play with Van Buren.

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