Anxiety Returns for Brandon Brooks
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Like the most still of ducks floating on top of a serene pond, the surface of Brandon Brooks' life couldn't have gotten much better.
An amazing comeback from a torn Achilles back in January was turning into a career year and Brooks, 30, has arguably been the top offensive linemen in the NFL this season, something rewarded by a recent big-money extension that made the two-time Pro Bowl selection into the highest-paid guard in the league.
The anxiety Brooks deals with on a daily basis remained, however, and he's always peddling furiously behind the scenes to get past what can be crippling attacks.
Brooks was forced to leave Sunday’s 17-9 loss to the Seahawks in the first quarter with what the team originally called an “illness."
The questions about Brooks' previous bouts with anxiety that have forced him to miss games were natural ones and hours after the game the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane was reporting that Brooks' exit was indeed related to his problems with anxiety.
Doug Pederson was asked about that possibility after the game and had yet to talk with team doctors.
“He just got sick and just had an illness, and we had to make a sudden change,” Pederson explained.
On his weekly spot with a Philadelphia radio station, Pederson was able to confirm that Brooks' illness was indeed the return of game-day anxiety that has affected the veteran earlier in his career.
"Yeah, it’s connected," Pederson conceded. "I’ll just say this, I’m not going to get into a lot of detail with that. Because, listen, this is a real-life issue. This is not a football issue with Brandon. This is a real-life issue that he has come out and publicly acknowledged and kind of shared his story a few years back. It’s something that he’s dealing with each and every day of his life. You never really know what triggers it."
Brooks himself also addressed the issue on Twitter:
Brooks had not missed any time due to the anxiety since the 2016 season. Against the Seahawks, Halapoulivaati Vaitai was inserted at RG for the rest of the first half before being kicked out to RT after Andre Dillard was benched to start the third quarter. Matt Pryor then took over at right guard.
Brooks signed a four-year, $56.2 million back on Nov. 11.
"We’re here to support him, we love him," Pederson said. "It is unfortunate that it happened, but it’s something that he deals with every single day. We’re just going to continue to support him."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen