Eagles Newest Linebacker Ready to ‘Ball Out & Have Fun’

Jatavis Brown

Getty Former Chargers linebacker Jatavis Brown inked a one-year deal to join the Eagles in free agency.

Jatavis Brown played high school football with Cre’Von LeBlanc. And the slot cornerback helped recruit the linebacker to the Eagles’ nest.

Brown, a former fifth-round pick out of Akron, spent his first four seasons with the Chargers and started in 23 of 56 games. He was relegated to mostly a special-teams role in 2019. Injuries have dampened a once-promising career and now he’ll step into a linebackers room in Philadelphia desperate for a shot of adrenaline. Brown is ready to leave his mark.

“I’m a playmaker, man,” Brown told Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro in March. “I’m somebody that is just going to go out and ball out and have fun. And enjoy being out there with my teammates.”

LeBlanc and Brown were high school teammates at Glades Central, a Florida football factory that has earned six state titles and forged two dozen future NFL stars since 1995. When Brown hit free agency in March, it didn’t take long for his phone to ring. The Eagles needed a versatile linebacker and the 26-year-old fit the bill. It didn’t hurt that LeBlanc had already sold Brown on joining the Eagles.

“He told me it’s a great culture here. The locker room is great,” Brown told Spadaro. “They love to have fun and they love to ball, but when it’s time to work, it’s time to work.”

More importantly, they know how to win. Brown has never appeared in a playoff game after an ankle injury kept him out of the Chargers’ lone postseason run in 2018.

“They know how to win. They compete on Sundays,” Brown said of the Eagles. “I think it’s a good fit for me and I’m excited to be there.”

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Brown Says ‘Football is Everything to Me’

Brown has accumulated 265 combined tackles (14 for loss) and 4.5 sacks in four NFL seasons. He has experience playing all three linebacker spots (MIKE, WILL, SAM) and thrived as an outside backer in the Chargers’ 4-3 scheme.

He’ll likely serve in a similar role in Philly, probably alongside Nathan Gerry and T.J. Edwards. Rookie Davion Taylor will also have a chance to earn a starting spot.

“I consider myself a smart guy when it comes to football, so I’m sure I’ll be diving into my playbook hard, so I’m a student of the game,” Brown told reporters, via Penn Live. “I don’t think I will have an issue with learning the system.”

The biggest challenge for Brown over the years has been staying healthy. A foot sprain derailed his 2017 campaign, followed by an ankle sprain in 2018. The latter landed him on injured reserve and kept him off the field for two Chargers’ playoff games. He missed almost all of training camp in 2019.

“Football is everything to me,” Brown said. “Football has gotten me through a lot of things in my life.”

Standout Pass Rusher at University of Akron

Brown’s football journey has seen stops in Florida, Ohio, and California prior to his train pulling into Philadelphia. He learned valuable lessons at each destination but none greater than at the University of Akron.

There, he played under longtime college coach Terry Bowden and racked up 340 total tackles (40.5 for loss) in four years. In 2015, Brown earned MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors while recording 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. His 11.5 sacks set a new single-season record at the school, leaping ahead of Pro Football Hall of Fame member Jason Taylor.

“Some people have drive. Some people don’t,” Bowden said of Brown, via Akron Beacon Journal. “Some people are highly motivated, highly driven. He is one of them. He came here with that type of personality and that type of mentality. You wish you had them all like that.”

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