To understand AJ Brown’s personality as a wide receiver, you first need to understand his taste in comedy.
Malik Joe is an Eagles fan from North Philadelphia who creates comedic content on the internet that can go viral. Earlier in the season, he made a mock video of the Eagles’ meeting, with Brown repeating, “I’m open!” He made several iterations of this Brown refrain, including Brown in a fake press conference answering every question with, “I’m open,” regardless of the topic.
Brown was not offended. He laughed, shared the videos and followed Joe on Instagram ever since.
“He’s a comedian here in Philly, he’s always making videos. He made a video and it was fourth and twenty, and I was like, ‘I’m open! I’m open!’” Brown said of Joe. “He always does very well with that. The boys like that. Hopefully he can keep it up!”
“The background of the video,” said Joe, “was because he was really open, being honest.”
Yes, Brown always thinks he’s open. Just look above his locker, where there is an “Always Open” sign. Check out his Instagram bio — @1k_alwaysopen. He wears a shirt that says ‘Un-guard-able’. Brown is not shy about this belief.
There was a little uproar earlier this week when television cameras caught Brown looking dejected in the fourth quarter of the Eagles’ win over the New York Giants in the NFC divisional round. Coach Nick Sirianni even comforted Brown on the bench. Brown said this week that “it was nothing serious” and “nothing to worry about”, and Sirianni called it a confident player who wants the ball.
The images provoked discussion and armchair psychology. If that’s the exercise of choice, then it’s important to understand the mind of a top wide receiver to participate.
“If you throw the ball at me 100 times,” Brown explained, “I want it 101 times.”
Brown is not ashamed of this. Look above his locker! There’s a reason Brown laughs at Joe’s videos. It’s the way he thinks – and it’s part of what has made him one of the NFL’s top wide receivers.
“I personally feel like I could change the game at any time,” said Brown. “Getting the ball often keeps you going, keeps you in a rhythm. Definitely put you in the zone. You’re locked in. Of course I want the ball.”
Brown disputed the suggestion that a top-wide receiver might come with “diva” tendencies. He insisted that he would not cause a fuss with teammates or coaches.
“I’m never the receiver to go down the sideline or cause problems on the sideline, I’m not the man,” said Brown. “I think that’s what you’re describing, the ‘diva’ or whatever. I am not that person. I’m the guy who talks to the quarterback, talks to the OC, and does it that way. I am not one to cause a stir on the sidelines.”
(It’s worth pointing out a sentiment shared by Alshon Jeffery in 2017 when the subject of “not a diva” came up during the Super Bowl run. Jeffery suggested he was sure the Eagles had those kinds of players (but that they wouldn’t show it when the team was winning. Success is a powerful deodorant.)
Eagles Esoterica: AJ Brown’s Personal Hygiene Secret
Brown finished with 88 catches for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns in the regular season—all career highs—while breaking Mike Quick’s single-season franchise record for receiving yards. The Eagles traded a first- and third-round pick to acquire Brown last April, and they gave him a four-year, $100 million contract to make him the highest-paid player on the team. He’s in Philadelphia to “change the game,” to use Brown and Sirianni’s expression.
“That’s what you want from your receivers, to want the football,” Sirianni said. “Part of the reason receivers are good is because they want and crave football. They want the ball to change the game. But make no mistake, he was overjoyed that we won the football game. plan. He blocked his butt and you could see how excited he was when he jumped that block for DeVonta’s (Smith) touchdown. But he was obviously very excited and celebrating in the locker room with all of us after the win.
It’s true that Brown had a key lockout on Smith’s touchdown. Brown was proud of it, even though teams don’t pay receivers $25 million a year because they’re good blockers. Brown had three catches for 22 yards against the Giants; it was his second lowest yardage output of the season and tied for his second fewest receptions. The Eagles also built a 28–0 halftime lead, attempting just seven passes in the second half (and 24 in the game). Last Saturday would not require a productive production from the team’s receivers.
This Sunday may be different. The San Francisco 49ers have the best defense in the NFL, but their running defense ranks higher than their pass defense. By yards allowed, the 49ers rank No. 20 against the pass and No. 2 against the run. The Eagles will need to use their passing game to advance to the Super Bowl, and Brown is a key part of the plan.
Brown, who suffered an undisclosed injury late in Saturday’s game, said he was “good to go” and was not on the injury report this week due to a condition.
The 49ers know Brown well. He played against them with the Titans in December 2021 and finished with a career-high 11 catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. Brown noted that the personnel has changed for San Francisco, but he played in that game – and he will have to do the same this weekend.
Brown embraces the big stage. His “perfect” performance in college came in his only contest in his hometown of Starkville, Miss. His NFL debut came on the same day as Odell Beckham Jr.’s first game. in Cleveland – and Brown was the leading receiver. His expected Eagles opener included 10 receptions for 155 yards. When facing the team that traded him, he caught two touchdowns and gave the Titans a “whoop.”
Brown played as a rookie in the AFC Championship Game (catching three receptions for 51 yards) as Tennessee lost at Kansas City, his first taste of a deep postseason run.
“I’m sure what the vibe is like, but this time it’s on my side, being home,” Brown said. “It still comes down to making plays, where every drive counts.”
And he wants to be the one who makes those plays. If Jalen Hurts gives him 10 passes, Brown wants 11.
“I feel like everything I do is going to work; it may not work, but I have a feeling it’s going to work,” said Brown. “And I really believe in myself and I feel like I can take over the game when I get the chance. Of course I want the ball, I long for the ball. That is all I can summarize.”
Brown wasn’t kidding, but he knows how to take a joke.
Just look at his favorite video Joe made.
Reporter: On that third and 17th, how can you explain your reaction to that non-conversion?
Brown: I was open.
News reporter. You were on the defensive.
Brown: I was open…
Reporter: When Jake Elliott started kicking that 60-year-old, were you nervous?
Brown: I was open. i was open.
Around the holiday season, Joe shared a meme that read, “Everyone’s job is closed for the holidays.” It read, “My Job” – with a picture of Brown’s face.
“Open like clockwork,” noted Brown. “Tell a friend to tell a friend.”
Scroll through Joe’s content and it’s clear the bit doesn’t get old. In fact, Joe even went to personally deliver a present to Brown before the Eagles’ Week 18 game.
Joe arrived at the stadium during pre-game warm-ups and walked to the bottom row behind the end zone with a gift-wrapped package that was passed to Brown.
Brown walked over to the end zone seats, opened the box, and looked inside.
It was another sign that said “OPEN”. Brown laughed as if he’d been on a comedy show. There is often truth in every joke.
(Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)