By Ben Sullivan
Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks ruptured his Achilles tendon on January 13 on the turf of the Superdome in New Orleans.
Brooks (above right with right tackle Lane Johnson) set the season opener against Washington as his goal for returning to the field.
On Sunday, he started and played 55 snaps on offense, coming out in the fourth quarter of the 32-27 victory.
That means he came back from what could have been a career-ending injury in less than eight months!
Brooks and the offense scored 14 points and gained 197 yards in the third quarter. Quarterback Carson Wentz was “sacked” just once all game, when he scrambled and only got back to the line of scrimmage. Brooks was supposed to be limited to 30 snaps, but felt good and wasn’t tired. Brooks was in head coach Doug Pederson’s ear and offensive line coach/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland’s ear to stay in the game.
“This is what all the work was for, not just for myself to run out of the tunnel, but to be out there with those guys,” Brooks said. “I’m an only child. I don’t have any brothers, don’t know what it’s like. But in this locker room, it’s not something that’s just tossed around, especially in the O-line room. We really are a family.
“I always say I’m fortunate enough to be able to play in the NFL where I can get the best care as far as doctors and rehab. I felt like, especially last year, the training staff got a bad shake with different setbacks and the stuff that they were going through, but they did a great job with me, so I appreciate it. I appreciate the organization and the trainers to have faith in me for me to know my body and allow me to go out there and play.”
“I told him today, ‘Dude, you should be proud of all the work you did to get here.’ To come off an Achilles being that big and to play Week 1, I think it speaks volumes about him as a person and as a player, how much he cares about this team because, probably by science, he shouldn’t have played,” tight end Zach Ertz. “But the way he was able to attack and overcome everything this offseason, I mean, I couldn’t be more proud of him as a teammate. I told him that today. I told him that earlier in the offseason. It is remarkable what you’ve done and the work you’ve put in.
“It shows that when you put your head down and you say, ‘Hey, I’m going to commit to this goal and I’m going to do everything I can to get there,’ that you can accomplish it. I think that’s what he’s done. It speaks volumes about the work he’s done. I feel like you should never put a limit on someone and he showed that today.”
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who also had surgery in the offseason, rehabbed side by side with Brooks all through the spring and summer. Cox told Brooks that the two of them would be back for the opener.
“It shows you the dedication he’s put in. We both had surgery in the offseason. We both talked about, ‘Hey, we’re both going to be back for this game because this team needs us. We’re both going to be back for the season opener,’ and we did that,” Cox said. “I was happy to see him out there just being Brandon.”