Brandon Brooks was the total package.
"Nobody can do what Brandon does at his position. He's the best in the business," Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland once said. "You see him do things athletically that are just unbelievable. He has range that other guys just don't have – the ability to get to the second level and get on one of those smaller guys and lock him up and it's over! Then he can stand at the line of scrimmage in a phone booth and just knock your face off."
Brooks' career was one of greatness. The Eagles regarded Brooks as a key component in their offensive success through the years and his performance backed up their beliefs.
He joined the NFL as a third-round draft pick of the Houston Texans in 2012. After an introductory rookie season there, Brooks started his next three seasons before entering free agency in 2016. He was a priority for the Eagles, who wanted to add a road-grading right guard who has the athletic skills to get to the second level and form a dominating tandem with All-Pro Lane Johnson on his right and All-Pro center Jason Kelce on his left.
It was an immediate hit.
Brooks started 14 games in his first season and then become a fixture from 2017-19, starting all 48 regular-season games and five postseason games, including Super Bowl LII. At 6-feet-5, 335 pounds, Brooks was a mountain of a man with the nimbleness of a dancer and unmatched power.
"Brandon Brooks is as special a person as he was a player. During his six years in Philadelphia, he played a significant role in creating and maintaining a winning culture that will resonate throughout our organization well into the future. Very few NFL players have ever possessed Brandon's unique blend of toughness, power, athleticism, intelligence, and skill," said Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Lurie.
"When we acquired Brandon as a free agent in 2016, we knew he would be the perfect cornerstone for a new coaching staff to build around. Brandon immediately became a leader in our locker room and one of the league's most dominant offensive players during a six-year period that included three Pro Bowl selections, three trips to the playoffs, and a Super Bowl Championship.
"Beyond his on-field accomplishments, I am most proud of the way Brandon represents our organization with exemplary class. He is one of the most thoughtful and bravest athletes I have ever been around. Brandon's willingness to openly discuss his own struggles with anxiety has served as an inspiration to so many and helped open the door for future conversations among athletes and role models everywhere. His impact in that area is immeasurable.
"It has been an honor to call Brandon Brooks a Philadelphia Eagle and I look forward to watching his continued success in the years to come."
Take a look back at the best photos of Brandon Brooks' incredible Eagles career!
An intelligent and rational man who has many interests beyond the playing field, Brooks will transition into the life of his choosing, an enviable football career behind him. Regardless of his next steps, as Lurie pointed out, Brooks has already created a lasting impact both on the organization, and on the lives of so many who draw inspiration from his willingness to speak so openly – not just to his teammates, but also publicly – about the things he struggled with during his successful career.
As he addressed the media last spring, a recovery from a torn Achilles tendon complete and given the all-clear to return to the football field without any restrictions, Brooks expressed zero doubt that he would return to his Pro Bowl form and that the travails of so many physical challenges – a shoulder injury and two torn Achilles tendons leading the way – would soon be forgotten. As he declared that day, Brooks would indeed once again line up in his familiar guard role next to Johnson, giving the Eagles the best right-side combination of any offensive line in the NFL.
There was one other thing that Brooks said on that late May afternoon, something that resonates these many months later as Brooks announced his retirement from football after 122 regular-season and playoff games, including 69 with the Eagles, three Pro Bowls, six playoff appearances, and one Super Bowl Championship.
"I am at peace," Brooks said. "I've seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows and, through it all, thank God I woke up the next day, right? No matter how bad things have seemed or how good things have seemed, I've come through it. Things are all good."
On his 96th offensive snap this season, against the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field, Brooks suffered a season-ending pectoral injury. While 2021 didn't go as planned for Brooks, that will not take anything away from what he meant to this team and to this organization for so many years.
Here are some of the highlights from Brooks' NFL career:
• Three-time Pro Bowl selection (2018-20) and Super Bowl LII Champion
• Most Pro Bowl selections by any guard in franchise history
• Including playoffs, 122 career games (116 starts) – including 69 (all starts) with the Eagles
• Six career postseason trips – including four playoff runs with Philadelphia
• Regarded among the top guards in the NFL during the 2016-19 seasons
• Ranked 2nd among all NFL guards in run-blocking grade (85.4) from 2016-19 (min. 1,000 run-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus)
• Ranked 3rd among all NFL guards in pass-blocking grade (90.6) from 2016-19 (min. 2,000 pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus)
• Tied with David DeCastro for the fewest sacks allowed (4 in 2,587 pass-blocking snaps) among all NFL guards in that span (min. 2,000 pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus)
• Highest offensive grade (92.8) among all NFL guards in 2019
• Led the NFL in run-blocking grade in 2019 (91.4)
• Sacks allowed by season: 2016 (1), 2017 (0), 2018 (1), 2019 (2)
• Blocked for one of the most dominant OLs during the Eagles' Super Bowl LII-winning season
• Helped Philadelphia lead the NFL in red zone offense (65.5%) and rank 3rd in both rushing (132.2 yards per game) and offensive points per game (26.3) in 2017
Brooks quietly and gracefully announced his retirement on Wednesday. No fanfare. Just the memory of a great football player and a great Eagle who loved being in Philadelphia where the fit with a player and a team was perfect, just perfect.
"Brandon Brooks epitomizes what we are," Stoutland said in 2019. "He's a tremendous member of our team. He always has a positive attitude. I love the way he prepares and, most especially, the way he performs on Sunday."