Brandon Brooks got teary-eyed as he stared into the Zoom camera and talked about stepping away from football. The Philadelphia Eagles right guard announced his retirement on Wednesday more out of necessity than want. His 32-year-old body wasn’t willing to cooperate any longer, not after multiple rehabs including two torn Achilles tendons.
Brooks delivered a powerful statement: “How do you say goodbye to something you’ve known your whole life? Something that taught you triumph, pain, success, failure, perseverance, love, empathy, and altruism. I don’t know but I’ll try. Yes, it is true — after 10 years in this game I am retiring.”
Brooks, a three-time Pro Bowler, decided to walk away following 10 incredible NFL seasons. The Houston Texans selected him in the third round of the 2012 draft and he played there for four seasons before joining the Eagles in 2016. He thanked both organizations for molding him into one of the league’s best guards, saving extra praise for Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
“You took me from being a good player to the best at my position,” Brooks told reporters. “Even while I was there you pushed me continuously to strive for more because hungry dogs run faster, and always will. Just as you helped me on the field, you helped me off [the field].
“Through all my struggles and low moments, I could count on a phone call from you. The topic never being about football but about life and how you could help. You are more than a coach and have been for a while. You are family and always will be. Anything, anytime, anywhere … never hesitate to reach out.”
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Brooks Plans to Apply to Business School
Preparing for life after football is something a lot of retired NFL players don’t plan for. Brooks mentioned watching the ESPN documentary “Broke” which detailed how 78% of former NFL players have either gone bankrupt or fell victim to financial stress. He doesn’t want to fall into that trap.
Brooks has plans to apply to business school at the University of Pennsylvania. He wants to learn about investing and protecting his wealth. He’ll continue to live in the Philadelphia area and look for success in the business world, unsure of what the future holds at this point.
“You come into a lot of money early and you sacrifice a lot to get there and I just realized, for me, I didn’t know enough about business and finances at that time,” Brooks said, referring to the $56 million contract he inked in 2019. “So I kind of went on a journey to learn more about it. I realized I have a passion for this and — that’s why I said earlier — I’m going to apply to Penn.”
Being There for His Buddy Lane Johnson
Brooks’ struggles with a stress anxiety disorder made headlines in 2016, way before mental health issues were a thing professional athletes willingly brought up. He was open and honest about it, especially his vomiting fits on the sideline.
Brooks found an ally in right tackle Lane Johnson who dealt with his own mental health issues in 2021. The two helped each other survive some trying times over the years, especially last October when Johnson took a leave of absence from the team. Brooks was one of the first guys to visit him.
“I really didn’t have to say anything at first. We just sat there, man,” Brooks said. “Sometimes words aren’t necessarily needed. We sat there and really just reflected on life. The ups and downs, the struggles you go through. It wasn’t even a football conversation at that point.”
Forever Philly’s Super Bowl Champion
The highlight for Brooks will always be hoisting that Lombardi Trophy in 2018 after beating the New England Patriots. It will go down as the only Super Bowl ring he owns, but the emotions from that night can’t be erased. He didn’t realize how much it meant to the City of Philadelphia and Eagles fans at the time. Now he does, and people still come up to him and thank him.
“One thing that I didn’t realize was how important a championship was to the city,” Brooks said. “And you hear that a lot but to see people dump their grandmother or grandfather’s ashes out, or a guy came up to me the other day and was like, basically, his mom’s mom had passed [away] and for three hours on Sunday, it was like nothing else mattered. We gave her that much joy, watching us, so it’s things like that, those memories that I’ll always have.”