By Grace Remington, Former Sports Editor
Brandon Brooks, offensive guard for the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami University ’11 graduate, talks with former sports editor Grace Remington about Brick Street Bar, his advice to the current football team and other Miami memories.
A third-round NFL draft choice by the Houston Texans in 2012, Brooks has been an NFL starter since 2013. After four seasons with Houston, he signed a five-year deal worth $40 million with the Eagles during the 2016 offseason.
Brooks played as an offensive lineman for the Miami football team from 2008-11 and was a member of the 2010 Mid-American Conference championship team.
Which dorm did you live in freshman year?
I stayed at MacFarland. I drove past it [Saturday] morning, and it did not look like what it does now … and I had no A.C. in my dorm room back then, just a fan. And they had a room phone in there back then, like a house phone.
Okay, so give me your craziest or wildest MacFarland Hall story.
Let’s see what I can say here on record [laughs]. A buddy of mine decided he was gonna scare some other freshman. He got out of the car and ran at them with a hoodie on and some sweatpants. The dude had his girlfriend’s hand and threw her hand out and ran. That was probably one of the craziest – I was like damn, we see where your priorities are. You gotta live so you throw her down and keep running.
And what about Uptown? Where was your favorite place while you were here?
Brick Street, for sure. It was like the athletes’ place to be. Will [Weisman] always looked out for us, made sure we stayed out of trouble. It was good.
When Ben Roethlisberger and John Harbaugh visited Miami last year, they joked about how they’ll meet up in the middle of the field after games and talk about their time at Miami. Do you ever have moments like that with other former Miami players?
With Harbaugh, when I was coming out of college, I went to a visit with the Ravens before the draft, and we reminisced about Miami, Mac & Joe’s, stuff like that.
Right, he’s a Mac & Joe’s and CJ’s fan.
[laughs] Right. So we talked about that, how they’re still here, the difference between when he was here and when I was here, stuff like that. And then pretty much from there, Austin Brown [Miami nose tackle, 2008-2013] came to the Texans for a little bit, Andy Cruse [Miami wide receiver, 2008-2011] did, and also [Miami quarterback, 2008-2012, and current Miami Dolphins QB Zac] Dysert for a little bit. So you know, it was all good there, trying to show them around, telling them what to do and what not to do while they were there.
During your time at Miami, was there a coach or player that had an influence on you that still carries over to your professional career?
I’d say [Shane] Montgomery [head coach, 2005-2008] because he recruited me and he showed me what it’s like to be a college player and what I should expect out of myself. And then I’d say [John] Klacik [offensive coordinator, 2011-2013] as well. He held me to a different standard when I was a senior. I always say he made me grow up. He made me mature on the run, I’d say. So those two coaches had the biggest impact.
Do you still keep in touch with them?
Yeah, I actually just talked to Sugar Shane not too long ago on Twitter. And then I talked to Klacik as soon as I signed with the Eagles. He just wished me congratulations and stuff like that.
The current team here has won five games in the last three years. What would you say to them to pump them up and motivate them to turn this thing around?
I think they got a great head coach with Chuck Martin at the helm. You know, just go out there and compete. Don’t be scared to dominate the man across from you. You really only get one chance to do this, so make the best of every opportunity while you’re out there. You don’t get this again. Play as hard as you can because you’ll definitely look back on it one day.