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During a Phillies loss in May, the highlight of the game came at the start, when the first pitch was thrown out by new Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown.
Brown was officially introduced by the team this spring, four days after Philadelphia traded for him in an acquisition that sent shockwaves through the league and energized the fanbase.
He isn’t the Eagles’ only exciting newcomer. Most experts agree Philly did exceptionally well in this year’s NFL Draft. Howie Roseman and co. came away with defensive tackle Jordan Davis, center Cameron Jurgens, inside linebacker Nakobe Dean, and a few other top picks.
But snagging Brown from the Tennessee Titans — an arrangement that became official on draft night — was newsy enough for beat reporters throwing around the phrase “blockbuster trade.”
So who is this guy, and what does he offer? Here are seven things to know about Philly’s new NFL superstar.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts is his best friend
When your position is wide receiver and the quarterback is your main man, you’re in business. Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown are real-life best buds, having met back in their college days, and there’s a good chance their off-the-field chemistry will lead to good things on the field.
“It’s going to be real special, man,” Brown said about joining Hurts in Philadelphia. “I’m so excited, playing with someone who thinks like me. I talk to him every day regardless of this football stuff. I’m so excited just to play with him.”
Brown was once drafted by the San Diego Padres
The legend of the A.J. Brown began to take shape at Starkville High School in Mississippi, where he was a standout in both football and baseball. He was just the second ever to play in both the Under Armour All-America Football Game and the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game.
Proving his prowess on the diamond, Brown was drafted in 2016 by the San Diego Padres. He even signed a contract, before deciding to pivot to his other sport, and play college football at Ole Miss.
He made an NFL splash from the very beginning
Brown was drafted in 2019 by the Tennessee Titans, and made the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team. He finished the season with 52 catches for 1,051 receiving yards and nine total touchdowns, the most of any first-yearplayer.
In his breakout season in 2020, Brown was named to his first Pro Bowl. He had 11 touchdowns, and 70 receptions, totaling 1,075 yards.
He’s opened up about mental health struggles
Brown has exposed a vulnerable side of himself, talking publicly in 2021 about how he’s struggled with mental health, specifically depression, and encouraged others in professional sports to allow themselves to be open and heal.
“I know for me, walking around with a smile – that’s easy to put on,” Brown told Sports Illustrated. “Anybody can do it. But when we go home, some of us have real-life problems. It’s just how you deal with those things.”
He’s ranked among the NFL’s top 5 receivers
According to PFF, Brown has a career receiving grade of 91.1, which ranks him No. 4 in the NFL during that span. It’s a position the Eagles have been desperately searching to bolster.
It was a money move
The Titans had the option to try to keep Brown, but he told ESPN he felt they low-balled him on the offer.
“This wasn’t my fault,” Brown said. “I wanted to stay, but the deal they offered was a low offer. The deal they offered wasn’t even $20 million a year.”
That opened the door for the Eagles, who agreed to a long-term extension. Brown inked a 4-year contract worth $100 million, making him the fourth-highest-paid receiver in the league.
He’ll rehabilitate No. 11 in Philly
Anyone still have Carson Wentz jerseys shoved in the back of your closet? Pull them out and get crafty, because you can turn them into A.J. Brown shirts. The team announced he’ll wear No. 11 for the Eagles.