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February 02, 2018

A year ago, anxiety might've kept Eagles' Brandon Brooks out of Super Bowl – but not now

MINNEAPOLIS — As the procession of inquisitors began to thin at the final Super Bowl LII media day on Thursday, Eagles Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks had a chance to openly reflect on something that crossed his mind. 

By now, everyone that follows the Eagles and the NFL knows the battle with anxiety the massive 6-foot-5, 345-pound six-year veteran underwent — and won

On Sunday, he'll face the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. But had this been a year ago, Brooks admitted, he might not have been able to play in the big game.

“With everything going on, and stuff like this, who knows if I would have been able to get through this last year,” Brooks said. “I would like to say yes, but it would be a toss-up. I honestly couldn’t tell you. I know this, I am a different person than I was a year ago. 

“I would say my growth is a night-and-day difference. I think that translated even more on the field. I wasn’t killing myself over making a mistake, or the thought that I was going to make a mistake. I would say this is a complete 180 turn from last year. I think I learned that I’m a lot stronger than I thought. Even this, with all of this media around, I don’t know if I would have been comfortable with all of this last year.

“Last year was one of the toughest personal journeys that I’ve ever been on, and now I’m here. I won’t forget it. I can’t forget it. This may surprise you, but with everything I did go through – and it was hell – I wouldn’t take it back. With what I was going through last year, there was that chance every game this year I wouldn’t have been on the field.”

Brooks said he’s counting down the hours to Super Bowl LII. 

“I’m always figuring out how I can be better as a person, not just as a player, and I think it’s taken some time, but I’ve finally learned to give myself credit,” Brooks said. “Where I was and where I am, it’s like two different worlds. Now I’m playing in the Super Bowl. I can’t wait. 

"Last year, I honestly don’t know if would have thought that.”

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