Brandon Brooks, after 10 seasons in the NFL, announced his retirement on Wednesday. The Philadelphia Eagles right guard battled four serious injuries since January 2019. The 32-year-old plans to apply to business school at the University of Pennsylvania.
A three-time Pro Bowl pick, Brooks was signed by the Eagles in free agency in 2016. Considered one of NFL’s best guards, he led the team to a Super Bowl win in 2018.
Annoucing his retirement, Brooks thanked dozens of people, including offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
“I feel like it is rare to have a coach who is as impactful on the field as off. He took me from being a good player to being the best at my position,” Brooks said.
The third-round pick by the Houston Texans out of Miami (Ohio) in 2012 further added that Stoutland pushed him even after he refined his play.
“You pushed me continuously to strive for more, because hungry dogs run faster, and always will. … Through all my struggles and low moments, I could always count on a phone call from you, the topic never being about football, but about life and how much you could help. … You are family, and always will be.”
The 32-year-old further added that he can’t stay healthy. He said that as he wrestled with the decision, he asked himself: “At what point do you listen to your body? I’m having injury after injury. At what point do I listen?”
Brooks publicly acknowledged his fight with debilitating anxiety after the condition was diagnosed in 2016.
“It has always been a part of me. It will always be a part of me; it will always be something I deal with,” Brooks said Wednesday.
“When it comes to (anxiety), I just want to be known as a person who is transparent, a person who just wanted to help others by sharing my story.”
This season, when Brooks suffered a torn pectoral tendon in Week 2, the team thought he might be able to return in about two months; he’d exceeded expectations with recoveries following both of his Achilles tendon surgeries and his shoulder surgery. But this time, that didn’t happen.
“I think you realize at a certain age, your body’s not necessarily recovering like it used to. It took a little longer than I would have liked,” Brooks said. “In the end, I didn’t have enough time to get where I needed to be to at least get a couple of practices under my belt” before the Eagles were eliminated from the wild-card round of the playoffs by Tampa Bay. “It was unfortunate, really, the last two years, how things ended. But for me, it was a lot more about the journey. You can’t have joy without sadness, right? The first four years (with the Eagles) I wouldn’t trade for the world, (even) if I had to weather these last two.”
Brooks said he plans to remain in the Philly area, and will apply to business school at the University of Pennsylvania. Though he was born and raised in Wisconsin, Brooks said he feels a special bond with Eagles fans.
With inputs from the Associated Press