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Sydney Brown has a lofty goal in recovery from ACL tear

Sydney Brown has a lofty goal in recovery from ACL tear originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Eagles safety Sydney Brown isn’t feeling sorry for himself. No long face. He isn’t wallowing.

“I’m good,” Brown said with a wide smile. “Really good.”

Brown’s rookie season ended in Week 18 with a torn ACL at MetLife Stadium. He missed the playoff game in Tampa and he’s staring down a lengthy rehab process he’s never gone through before.

But he’s ready to attack it with positivity.

“Honestly,” Brown said at locker cleanout day, “I’m so pumped to start rehab.”

Brown, 23, will have surgery to repair his torn ACL next week and then he said he’s looking at a rehab window of 6-8 months. He has a lofty goal: Brown wants to be ready for training camp and for Week 1 of the 2024 season.

“That’s my mindset,” Brown said. “And if I can make that happen, I can make it happen. If not, then Week 1, 100%.”

That timeline is clearly ambitious. Brown suffered his torn ACL on Jan. 7, so when training camp begins in early August, he’ll be less than seven months from the date of the injury.

Timelines for ACL recoveries vary based on plenty of factors. A typical ACL return in the NFL is around 9 months post-surgery but it can often take longer to get back to peak performance. Of course, every injury is different.

While it seems possible — likely even — that Brown will miss the beginning of his second NFL season, he clearly wants to keep that positive mindset.

Brown is all positivity now, but he did admit it took a little bit of time to get to that mindset.

“I had a couple days right in the moment,” Brown said. “My first call was my brother (twin brother Chase is a Bengals running back) and we both kind of shared some tears on the phone just because you never wish that upon anybody, especially ourselves. It kind of sat with me for a moment and then I was like, ‘Damn. The only thing I can really focus on right now is coming back.’

“I’ve dealt with some small injuries. Nothing like this. But a positive mindset excels the healing process and I’m going to kill this thing. I’m going to come back and better than I ever was. It just helps you appreciate the game and how fast it can be taken away from you. I’ve just been blessed with another opportunity to prove myself, why I’m here. Yeah, I’m absolutely going to kill this thing. I’m pumped.”

While Brown has already been walking since the tear and has been rehabbing what he’s allowed to before surgery, he’s going to head to the operating room next week. From there, he has a plan laid out already. First, he’ll get his mobility back. Then, he’ll strengthen. Then, he’ll strengthen enough to return.

We’ll see how long it takes.

The Eagles drafted Brown in the third round out of Illinois in the 2023 draft. While Brown was a key contributor on special teams all season, it took a while longer for him to get opportunities on defense. Eventually, he played some safety and nickel corner for the Eagles this past season (35% of the team’s defensive snaps) and in Week 17 had a 99-yard pick-6 for his first NFL interception.

The very next week, Brown’s ACL snapped while running down the field on punt coverage.

“It’s just crazy because I play this game thinking I’m invincible and it’s just crazy,” Brown said. “It’s not like I did anything I haven’t done. It just kind of goes when it goes. It was a long season plus the NFL Combine, the Senior Bowl and the preseason games. So it’s really like you’re playing 23 games by playoffs. It happened. I can’t control it.”

What Brown can control is how he attacks his rehab. And that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be an issue.

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