The Philadelphia Eagles are saddened to learn that long-time season-ticket holder and training camp mainstay "Eagle" Joe Brown passed away on Sunday evening. He was 62 years of age.
"Training camp will not be the same without Eagle Joe," said Eagles head coach Andy Reid. "He was a fixture at our practices every summer for many, many years. He knew every player on the roster, their 40 time, their college and their statistics, it seemed. He bled green. And even though he was struggling with various illnesses in recent years, he still managed to travel to Lehigh a few times every camp. He always had a kind word of encouragement to each of our players and coaches. He never asked for anything and never expected anything, he just wanted to be around his Eagles family. We will certainly miss Joe and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends in their time of loss."
Brown began "vacationing" at Eagles training camp since the Dick Vermeil head-coaching era in 1975 at Widener University in Chester, Pa. A proud, long-time employee of ACME supermarkets in Media, Pa., Brown would literally take all of his vacation days during the time of Eagles training camp each summer.
In 1988, Brown was invited by then-head coach Buddy Ryan to stand on the sideline during training camp practice. From that point on, he was a visible part of the action, dressed head to toe in Eagles gear and armed with a camera to add to his extensive collection of Eagles photographs from his 37 years of training camp memories
Ryan, and subsequently every head coach since, gave Brown that same special access to watch practice, take photographs, and speak to the players as they entered and exited the practice field each morning and afternoon. Brown even attended practices in recent years even though a degenerative disease robbed him of much of his eyesight.
In 2001, Brown was the Eagles' representative in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's "Visa Hall of Fans," an exhibit that honored one fan from each of the NFL's franchises.