After his monstrous outing, Eagles star receiver AJ Brown is going to have to find a local ATM.
Brown recently revealed to The Inquirer that after every 100-yard mark he passes throughout the season, the 25-year-old broad withdraws exactly $100 and he straps every Benjamin Franklin ticket to the back of his shoulder pads. with tape. At the start of Week 8, Brown had five separate $100 bills conveniently hidden under his No. 11 jersey.
“It just inspires me to keep stacking,” Brown said.
In Sunday’s intrastate showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown set career highs with 156 receiving yards and three touchdowns — bringing his total for the season to 659 receiving yards and five touchdowns. His jaw-dropping performance helped the Eagles to a decisive 35-13 victory as the team improved their perfect record to 7-0.
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Brown was nearly unstoppable and quarterback Jalen Hurts made sure to find his main target again and again. All three of Brown’s touchdown receptions came on shots in which Brown outshot, overshot, and outplayed every defender in his path.
“My eyes always light up [when the football is in the air] because I know I have the opportunity to get that ball,” Brown said. “It’s my ball or nobody’s ball.”
No one is able to physically see the money attached to Brown’s pads, but he uses this personal secret as an extra form of motivation. It’s a tradition he started in Tennessee and took to Philadelphia. His goal is to always go over $1,000 or the 1,000 yard mark. He accomplished the feat in two of his three NFL seasons. At the end of the season, Brown says he donates the accumulated money to charity.
“I always try to work on something and keep having a bigger bag,” he said.
From Brown’s postgame demeanor, he certainly felt like he left money on the table — a phrase Hurts used repeatedly throughout the season. Although he recorded several career highs, Brown remained dissatisfied.
On a fourth quarter play, Brown carried a pass from Hurts on a breakout route. He made a forward throw, but Brown was stopped at the 11-yard line by Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Rather than score his fourth touchdown, Brown settled for a 43-yard reception. On the ensuing play, running back Miles Sanders capped the drive with his rushing touchdown.
“I’m really a little upset right now because I know I had a big day,” Brown said. “But I could have had an even better day if I had made the most of my opportunities.”
While Brown was raw and honest about his emotions, several of his teammates offered a deeper appreciation for one of the best single-game performances by a wide receiver in franchise history.
“It’s fun to play with him,” tight end Dallas Goedert said. “He’s just going to work. It’s fun to go fight with him. Since he’s been here, he proves it every day. There’s a reason he’s as good as he is, it’s because he works hard… he’s fast, he’s physical, every time he touches the ball we all think we have a chance to score. It’s fun to watch him run with the ball.
Asked if the offense is keeping up its pace in the second half, right tackle Lane Johnson said bluntly: “Just throw that [football] at No. 11. This guy had a special day.
When the Eagles traded for Brown, they gained a built-in chemistry between their new top receiver and the starting quarterback. Hurts and Brown have had a strong relationship since their pre-college days, and the bond between the two players has grown ever since.
“Helluva game by AJ,” Hurts said. “I know he wants games for sure, but heck of a game from him. I have great confidence in AJ. I have always had admiration for his mentality, his desire. He did great things for him. I’m proud of him as a friend and as a quarterback.
READ MORE: AJ Brown’s mindset as Eagles trade unites him with friend Jalen Hurts: ‘I’m ready to go to war for him’
Throughout training camp, Brown proved he was helping Hurts attack the middle and middle parts of the court. His presence also opened up space for other point guards, such as Goedert and wide receiver DeVonta Smith. But on Sunday, Brown made it clear that he would give his team a chance whenever he was fielded on the outside.
The Steelers have often opted to leave Brown as sole cover, and he’s had a field day with it. During one of his touchdown celebrations, Brown directly pointed the finger at two close defensemen who had failed in their mission. Brown was penalized for taunting, but his exhilarating performance could have offset any anger coming from the home sideline.
“I just said, ‘one, two – that’s not enough!'” Brown said with a smile.
When the Eagles travel to Houston later this week for a Thursday night game with the Texans, Brown will be looking to have six $100 bills taped to his shoulder pads. The Eagles’ record is still unblemished – going 7-0 for only the second time in franchise history – and Brown aspires to keep stacking up.
“His presence is magnificent, I’m not going to lie,” Sanders said of Brown. “Having a guy like him makes it 10 times easier for the O line, the running backs and Jalen himself.
“AJ is playing in his mind right now.”