Brandon Brooks left Sunday’s game early in the first half. It was initially diagnosed as an illness.
It seems to be much worse. According to The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, it is possibly the recurrence of Brooks’ ongoing battle with anxiety. The Eagles starting right guard left in the first quarter and never returned.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai immediately took his spot before switching to right tackle and giving way to Matt Pryor. Vaitai took over for rookie Andre Dillard who was benched late in the first half.
Brooks has a well-documented case of anxiety problems dating back to his rookie season in Houston. In 2016, he missed two games for the Eagles after suffering panic attacks before warmups. It’s an issue Brooks has openly discussed and seemed to have overcome.
After the game, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson didn’t confirm the cause for Brooks’ absence. He told reporters he hadn’t talked to the team doctors yet.
“He just got sick and just had an illness,” Pederson said, “and we had to make a sudden change.”
Then, a sourced report surfaced citing anxiety as the reason. Brooks wasn’t available in the locker room to confirm the report.
Brandon Brooks: Highest-Paid Right Guard in Football
Brandon Brooks received a contract extension that will make him the league’s highest-paid right guard.
Brooks, arguably the best right guard in football, agreed to a four-year deal worth $54 million, including $30 million in guaranteed money. The 30-year-old was on his way to winning the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year after recovering from a torn Achilles in only nine months.
Brooks was the top-graded offensive lineman following a dominating performance in Week 9. He helped fuel an Eagles’ rushing attack that gained 146 yards on the ground. According to Pro Football Focus, Brooks graded out at a whopping 96.6 en route to a spot on their Team of the Week.
“I don’t know what to say right now, really,” Brooks told the team’s official website. “I’m blessed. After my first couple of weeks here when the Eagles signed me (in 2016), I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”
The well-deserved contract puts him ahead of guys like the Cowboys’ Zack Martin, Giants’ Kevin Zeitler and Panthers’ Trai Turner, per OverTheCap. He’ll earn roughly $13.5 million per season.
“I’m honored that the organization extended me early, with a year to go on my contract,” Brook said. “I don’t know, man. I’m kind of speechless at this point.”
Brooks Earned the Respect of Peers in Training Camp
Brandon Brooks has long flown under the radar in the eyes of the general public, although not in the locker room.
As Brooks was continuing to rehab and fight back from a brutal ACL injury during training camp, he never complained. The former third-round pick kept telling everyone he’d be back in time for the season opener.
Center Jason Kelce called Brooks “the most important guy” on the entire offensive line, a guy that doesn’t get nearly enough credit.
“I think he might be the most important guy. He’s such a special talent. Big, powerful, strong, athletic,” Kelce told Heavy.com. “It’s rare that one guy has all that, and he really makes my job easier, he makes Lane’s job easier.
“He’s such a crucial part of our run game, a crucial part of what we can do from a protection standpoint. I don’t think that he gets enough credit. I don’t think a lot of our guys get enough credit.”