Brandon Brooks has confirmed an Inquirer report that he left the Eagles’ 17-9 loss Sunday to the Seahawks early because of symptoms related to anxiety.
The Pro Bowl right guard had previously missed two games with the Eagles because of his condition. But that had been three seasons ago. He seemingly had overcome his anxiety enough to become arguably one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL.
But Brooks, 30, revealed Monday morning, in a statement he released on Twitter, that his anxiety had caused him to leave Sunday after just a series or two.
“I woke up, and did my typical routine of morning vomiting,” Brooks wrote. "It didn’t go away like it normally does, but I figured it would calm down once I got to the stadium. It did, but I felt exhausted. The nausea came back, and I tried to battle through it and went out for the first drive.
“The nausea and vomiting came back until I left the field, and tried everything I could to get back for my teammates but just wasn’t able to do it.”
The Eagles initially said that Brooks left early because of an illness. Coach Doug Pederson said after the game, when asked if the guard’s absence had anything to do with anxiety, that he had yet to meet with the team’s medical staff. He confirmed Monday morning, however, during his regularly scheduled interview with 94.1-WIP, that Brooks’ departure was connected to his condition.
“This is a real life issue,” Pederson said. "This is not a football issue with Brandon. This is a real life issue that he has come out and publicly acknowledged and kind of shared his story a few years back. It’s something that he’s dealing with each and every day of his life. You never really know what triggers it.
“We’re here to support him. We love him."
The Eagles struggled without Brooks. They were already without right tackle Lane Johnson, who was sidelined with a concussion. Johnson and Brooks are best friends on the team. They often have described their mutual pregame ritual of vomiting and talking each other through it. Johnson wasn’t at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday because of NFL rules for head-injury recovery.
Brooks has spoken openly about his anxiety. He often has credited Johnson with helping him manage the condition. Brooks had become one of the Eagles’ most reliable blockers over the last three seasons. He somehow returned from a torn Achilles tendon, suffered in January, in time for the season opener, and just two weeks ago, the Eagles signed him to a four-year, $56.2 million contract extension.
Despite his recent successes, Brooks never has suggested that his anxiety had been cured.
“Make no mistake I’m NOT ashamed or embarrassed by this nor what I go through daily,” Brooks wrote in his statement. “I’ve had this under control for a couple of years, and had a setback yesterday. The only thing I’m upset about is that when my team needed me, I wasn’t able to be out there with and for them.”
With Johnson and Brooks out, backups Andre Dillard and Halapoulivaati Vaitai couldn’t fortify the right side of the line. Quarterback Carson Wentz was under constant pressure. Dillard, who had previously never played right tackle, was benched at halftime for Vaitai. Reserve Matt Pryor took Vaitai’s spot at right guard.
Brooks’ anxiety has yet to cause him to miss multiple games in a row. Johnson is expected to be cleared to play Sunday on the road against the Dolphins.