Since arriving in Philadelphia, head coach Chip Kelly has preached the importance of special teams. Kelly and the Eagles double down on that emphasis on the second day of free agency, adding former Houston Texans linebacker Bryan Braman to the roster after agreeing to terms earlier in the day with safety Chris Maragos.
Braman and the Eagles agreed to terms on a two-year deal.
"Any backup spot is all the value of special teams," Kelly said last September during roster cutdowns. "If you're going to be a backup player here, you're going to be on teams."
And that is where the 26-year-old Braman excels. After signing with the Texans as an undrafted free agent out of West Texas A&M in 2011, Braman earned a roster spot as a rookie thanks to his contributions on special teams. In three seasons, he has played 46 games and recorded 36 tackles as a core member of special teams.
Braman earned cult-favorite status in Houston after one of those tackles came without his helmet on.
At 6-foot-5, 241, Braman also plays outside linebacker.
"You don't find many players of Bryan's size with the ability to run down the field and make plays on special teams," said Kelly. "It's an area of the game that we always have our eye on and look to improve. With his size, we also like his potential as a guy who can compete for spot as an outside linebacker."
Last season, the Eagles' coverage units improved under Kelly, going from 31st in punt coverage to 11th and bumping up from 21st in kickoff coverage to 19th. Clearly, Kelly has aims on making both those units top-10 quality, and Braman is the next in line to help that process.
"We are always looking for core special teams players and Bryan has made his mark in this league on those units," said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. "He was a Pro Bowl alternate two years ago. He's a big, physical player who plays with a tremendous amount of toughness."
Punter Donnie Jones, who officially signed his three-year contract on Wednesday, played with Braman in 2012. Jones praised the energy and devotion Braman has for special teams.
"He's a war daddy, man. He's got a 'will-sacrifice-body' mentality," Jones said. "When I think special teams and I think special teamer, I think Bryan Braman. Just being with him for one season, he's all out every play. He wants to block the punt and he wants to make every tackle, and I think that he's going to be a huge asset for this team."
In 2012, Braman was named to the USA Today All-Joe Team and recognized as a Pro Bowl alternate as a special teamer after leading the Texans with 16 special teams tackles and setting a franchise record with two blocked punts.
As a rookie in 2011, Braman saw action in all 16 games, recording 0.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and seven special teams tackles.
After redshirting his freshman year at Idaho, Braman transferred to Long Beach City College where he earned first-team SCFA All-Southern Conference honors as a sophomore in 2008. Following his sophomore season, Braman transferred to West Texas A&M University where he was coached by former Texans assistant linebackers coach Bobby King. A native of Spokane, WA, Braman starred at defensive end at Spokane Shadle Park High School.
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