Brandon Brooks has no doubts about returning to top form originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
When Brandon Brooks tore his left Achilles while running at the NovaCare Complex last June, all he could do was laugh.
Weird response, right?
The thing is, Brooks had been through it before with his other ankle. And because of that, he knew immediately the severity of the injury and what it would take to overcome it.
He also had no doubts that he’d return better than ever.
“I think the biggest thing that everybody is forgetting is I've torn my Achilles before,” he said. “And when I came back, I was the best. Period. So with that being said, what tells you it’ll be any different this time? That’s exactly how I feel.”
Last week, Lane Johnson talked about proving doubters wrong as the two 30-something linemen come back from their respective injuries in an attempt to regain their Pro Bowl form. But Brooks doesn’t feel like he has anything to prove.
Brooks, speaking to reporters on Thursday after a voluntary offseason session, said he has no doubt that he’ll soon be the best guard in the NFL again.
“It’s life,” Brooks said. “Stuff happens.”
There is, of course, the question about the cumulative effect three consecutive years of major injuries and surgeries might have. A shoulder injury in 2019 was sandwiched between the two Achilles tears in 2018 and 2020. Not to mention, Brooks will turn 32 before the 2021 season starts.
Because of all that, Brooks understands there will be doubters. He knows people will wonder if he can still be a Pro Bowl caliber guard and they’ll wonder the same thing about Johnson, who is also 31 and coming off yet another ankle surgery. If healthy, these guys form the best right side of a line in the NFL; it’s just a big if.
“As far as proving yourself, what haven’t we done?” Brooks asked. “That’s the question. What haven’t we accomplished? There is no doubt or ‘hey, we’re in our 30s, coming off injury, we don’t know if he can do it.’ We’ve done it. We’ll be fine.”
Brooks tore his left Achilles last June 15, so he’s nearly a year removed from the injury. If you had any questions about his readiness right now, know that he claims he would have played in the playoffs last year had the Eagles found a way to win the NFC East.
At the end of last season, Brooks did begin practicing in December. But if the Eagles played a wild card game, it would have been less than seven months from the date of the injury.
“When I got cleared in December, I was cleared, cleared. Like, good to go,” Brooks said. “The first one really helped me with the second one. There was never a doubt in my mind (about) could I come back. Because, again, I’ve done it. And when I came back again, I was the best at what I did. All it really is, is another goal that I have to reach. Another setback. But I’ve been down this road before so there was never any doubt in my mind.”
In addition to talking about his recovery, Brooks on Thursday also addressed the trade rumors that involved him this offseason. He confirmed that they were real but also said he didn’t take them personally.
Brooks said he wanted to stay in Philly, but if he got traded, he’d simply go elsewhere and regain his form as the best guard in the league.
When Brooks tore his Achilles last time he returned in less than eight months and had his best NFL season in 2019, ranking as PFF’s top offensive lineman. He was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl team and had a legitimate gripe after being snubbed by All-Pro voters.
That’s why Brooks has no doubts about returning to form in 2021.
How long does he think he can keep it going after this season?
“As long as I decide to,” Brooks said. “That’s how I feel. Each year, I’ve only gotten better, even after the injury, I got better. As long as I decide to play, I think I can maintain this level, if not be better.”
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