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February 21, 2023

Eagles' A.J. Brown says he wants to play with DeVonta Smith 'as long as I can'

The wide receiver covered a wide range of topics during an appearance on the 'Raw Room' podcast

The dust has now settled a bit on the Eagles' painful loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, even if many fans still find themselves staring absently into space imagining plays that would have changed the outcome of the game. The bargaining stage is always the roughest patch of grief.

But as the Eagles transition into offseason mode, we're beginning to hear more of the optimism that players feel about the future of the team — for next season and beyond.

Wide receiver A.J. Brown has offered some comic relief over the last few days, especially after a fan account shared photos of Brown as a teenager and some of his teammates, including DeVonta Smith, joined in on the fun of roasting him.

Brown appeared this week on the "Raw Room" podcast hosted by Daren Bates and Jalen Collins, who both have NFL experience under their belts and understand the dynamics of locker rooms. Some highlights from the podcast have gotten traction on social media, including Brown's half-joking remark that GM Howie Roseman better get the Jalen Hurts contract done, or else Brown will march wherever his best friend winds up.

The full podcast offers a lot more insight into Brown's thinking than a few soundbites can really capture. Just before that quote, Brown also heaped praise on Smith and said he wants to ensure that they'll both be catching passes from Hurts for years to come.

Bates, who was Brown's teammate on the Titans, brought up the uncertainty of the future in the NFL and pointed out that the same contractual stalemate that led up to the Eagles' draft night trade for Brown could theoretically happen in Philadelphia at some point down the line.

"I hope it don't," Brown said. "I'm definitely going to try to do everything in my power to play as long with Jalen as I can — him and DeVonta, you know what I'm saying? Me and DeVonta, we're a great tandem. I'm definitely going to try to keep that going as long as I can. He's up and rising, bro — on another level. So, at some point, he's going to be up (for a contract), you know? You definitely are going to try to keep the team together and win while we're together."

Smith, 24, is under contract in Philly for two more seasons, and the team will also be able to pick up his fifth-year option after that (for a pricy, one-year solution) if an extension can't yet be reached before the start of the 2025 season. Brown, 25, is under contract through the end of the 2026 season. 

Together, the two wideouts became the first duo in Eagles history to both record more than 1,000 yards in a season. Keeping them together with Hurts long-term will require major resources and crafty cap management alongside the rest of the Eagles' needs, primarily the foundational recipe of stacking the offensive and defensive lines with top talent. Having two stud wide receivers is kind of a novelty in Philly. 

Brown's comments about the team's construction — and the job ahead of Roseman — are more interesting in light of the lengthy remarks he gave about being traded from Tennessee. This podcast contains probably the most thorough public account Brown has given about the timeline of his trade and the emotions that went into it, at least from his perspective and from a dollars and cents standpoint. It also offers some insight into how he and other core Eagles players may try to balance maximizing their earnings with being unselfish to keep as much culture and continuity in Philadelphia if it means consistently contending. 

Brown also spoke at length about the Super Bowl experience, from the media environment to the game, the slippery field, the pivotal holding call on James Bradberry and Nick Sirianni's tears during the national anthem.

Another highlight: Brown said Sirianni once turned witnessing his neighbor scoop her dog's poop into a lesson for the team about paying attention to technique and detail.

It's been a rough February for Eagles fans, but there's plenty to feel good about looking forward. Listen to the full "Raw Room" podcast with A.J. Brown below.