Brown breaks silence to explain frustration and why he apologized to teammates

Brown breaks silence to explain frustration and why he apologized to teammates originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

A.J. Brown on Wednesday afternoon sliced through the throng of reporters who had collected around his locker stall at the NovaCare Complex and moved his chair out of the way.

“Golly!” Brown said. “OK, let me get comfortable.”

Then he really broke his silence.

But before he did that, Brown on Wednesday morning apologized in a team setting.

“I apologized to my teammates today because they shouldn’t have to answer questions on my behalf,” Brown said. “I’m a man. I can speak for myself.”

The Eagles’ 26-year-old star receiver had declined interview requests since Christmas Day after the Giants game. In a nearly 13-minute interview on Wednesday, Brown explained his silence, his frustration in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss, why he apologized to his teammates and his relationship with Nick Sirianni, among other things.

“Honestly, the reason why I didn’t speak to the media after the game (was) because I didn’t want to be negative,” Brown said. “I had already transitioned to the mindset where we were going through a tough time and so me personally, the person I am, who just know I just have to go back to work. Ain’t nothing I can do about it. Like I said after the (Giants) game, how I was raised, if I had nothing nice to say, I’m not going to say nothing at all.

“I’m not about to compound the negative with the negative so you guys can write more negative stuff. You guys watched the game too so you guys already know. So that’s why I was like, there’s nothing more that I can say. I’m not trying to make it worse than what it is. And then on top of that, everything that I do, if I say something, if I do anything, I’m classified as a monster. Honestly. And it’s honestly the opposite.”

After a 3rd-and-19 screen attempt failed in the fourth quarter in the 35-31 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, Brown was captured by a FOX camera shaking his head in frustration.

Without hearing from Brown himself, there were plenty of theories about that frustration, many of which centered around the thought that he was displeased by the play call or the lack of targets he saw on that series and late in the game. Brown on Wednesday offered a different explanation, saying he was upset because DeVonta Smith got his ankle rolled up on the play. Brown said he knows some people won’t buy that explanation but he also said he doesn’t care.

“You saw my frustration on the field,” Brown said. “It wasn’t about the play call, it wasn’t about none of that. It was about my guy getting banged up. We’re going to need, I’m going to need Smitty moving forward. But that was it.”

Brown doesn’t understand why his frustration gets singled out. He said that every player in the locker room is frustrated. The Eagles (11-5) have lost four of their last five games and have gone from potentially landing the No. 1 seed to likely starting their playoff run on the road as a wild card team.

This isn’t the first time Brown has felt vilified because of the way he expresses his emotions.

“Just because I’m shaking my head? I’m showing emotion?” Brown said. “You can look at everybody in the stadium has bad body language. They’re frustrated. And so I wanted to clear that up because it’s not about me. We’re all frustrated. I wanted to clear that up.”

And Brown also wanted to clear up any chatter about him and head coach Nick Sirianni. Brown on Wednesday said he and the head coach have a strong relationship.

Sirianni has publicly and privately defended Brown as a player and as a teammate in recent weeks.

“People say I’m beefing with Nick. I’m not mad at Nick,” Brown said. “I’m not mad at nobody. We have a great relationship. I’ve got a ton of respect for Nick because he takes up for us when it be us.”

Brown gave an example too. According to Brown, Sirianni tried to cover for his players by saying a play call late in the Seattle game was because the Eagles were trying to draw a defensive pass interference. Brown said that wasn’t the case and that the Eagles' players checked on the play. “He really made himself look like a fool for us,” Brown said.

Brown doesn’t like that he gets labeled as a diva. He admitted on Wednesday — just like he did last season — that he always wants the football. He said if he gets it 105 times, he’ll want it 106 times.

But he also said he doesn’t demand the football during the game, even jokingly acknowledging that Smith is a squeakier wheel when it comes to that but no one notices.

“I don’t say nothing during the game. I don’t ask for the ball,” Brown said. “But if a wide receiver says anything, oh, he’s classified as a diva and he wants the ball. Maybe I’m holding my teammates accountable. Like we have those tough conversations. But if a quarterback does it, then don’t nobody say nothing. But if a receiver says something then it’s the end of the world. That is what it is and I can’t control that. I know who I am and I try to push my teammates and I’m not going to change who I am and that’s what it is.”

The one thing Brown didn’t deny on Wednesday is that he is frustrated.

Of course he is.

“Yeah, because I want to win. I want to win,” Brown said. “And I’m trying to do everything in my power to win. I wake up before the sun come up, I go home hours after the sun goes down. This is our life. We dedicate our whole entire life to this s—. But it’s serious to us. It comes with frustration.”

And sometimes, you just have to let it out.

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