Brooks Turns from Anxious to Eager in First Pro Bowl Year
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Most of us have struggled with anxiety at some point in our lives.
But most of us aren't 6-foot-5, 340-pound NFL offensive linemen with the power to move other very strong men at will.
In some ways that made things even more difficult for Brandon Brooks, the Eagles' star right guard who has rebounded from an anxiety disorder to earn his first Pro Bowl berth for a 12-2 team.
Ironically, Brooks was diagnosed in December of last year after the disorder left him weak and vomiting before a pair of games in 2016.
Fast forward a year and a day after being named to his first Pro Bowl Brooks held court in front of his locker, showing nary of a sign of anything related to anxiety. He was confident and in control while looking to use his platform to help others beat what can be a crippling hurdle.
Most don't deal with that kind of anxiety Brooks did so often it's difficult to understand. When you add in Brooks' stature, both from physical and professional standpoints, it can become even more foreign.
"Let's be real, when I was going through the anxiety stuff, not everybody had my back," Brooks admitted. "But, at the same time, it's interesting to me now -- the Pro Bowl is here -- and the same people that didn't support me at the same time now are going to pat me on the back. Let it be understood that although you forgive, you never forget."
Inside the NovaCare Complex, Brooks had plenty of support, however, and singled out his linemates, Jason Peters and Stefen Wisniewski, as well as defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz as people offering significant support through his ordeal.
"Adversity makes you stronger," Brooks explained. "Probably the biggest thing is, you realize quickly who's in your corner, who's always going to have your back. It just makes you aware of what's real and what's not."
These days Brooks is trying to dominate anxiety disorder like he's pulling and bearing down on a helpless defensive back in the open field.
"Through the Pro Bowl, I really just hope I can reach further to help people going through the same thing," Brooks said. "You can overcome it, although times can seem at their darkest, brighter days are coming."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen