Eagles' A.J. Brown Says He's Not a 'Diva,' Downplays Frustration vs. Giants

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 25, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 21: A.J. Brown #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles  in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Cameras caught A.J. Brown showing some frustration in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 38-7 divisional-round win over the New York Giants, a game in which the talented Philadelphia Eagles wideout caught only three passes for 22 yards on six targets.

But Brown told reporters Wednesday there was a difference between being a diva and simply having a hunger for targets and receptions.

"I'm never the receiver to go on the sideline or try to cause problems on the sideline. I'm not that guy. I think that's what you could describe as a diva, but I'm not that person," he said. "I'm a guy who goes up and talks to the quarterback and talk to the [offensive coordinator] and do it that way. I'm not a guy that's going to cause commotion on the sideline. That's not who I am. I'll never be that guy."

Brown added that wanting to regularly receive the ball was a feature of the top wideouts in football, not a bug.

"They throw the ball to me 100 times, I'm going to want it 101 times," he said. "Me personally, I just feel like I can change the game at any moment. Getting the ball often keeps you going, keeps you in a rhythm. It definitely puts you in a zone; you're locked in. Of course I want the ball."

His head coach concurred.

"Of course he's always going to want the ball. He's a really good player," Nick Sirianni told reporters on Monday. "Not really anybody in the pass game really got a lot of targets or a lot of opportunities because we were running the ball so well. But that's what you want from your receivers, to want to have the football. Part of the reason why receivers are good is because they want and crave the football."

Josh Tolentino @JCTSports

Nick Sirianni said he expects A.J. Brown to be ready to play in the NFC Championship. As for Sirianni and Brown's animated conversation captured on the sideline, Sirianni said:<br><br>"Of course he wants the ball. But make no mistake about it, he was thrilled we won the football game."

Josh Tolentino @JCTSports

Shane Steichen on A.J. Brown<br><br>"He's been awesome, this group is selfless. He's the ultimate competitor. All the great players want the ball. Everyone wants to get touches.…The bottom line is winning the game. At the end of the day, it's about winning football games." <a href="https://t.co/lys90mhrI3">pic.twitter.com/lys90mhrI3</a>

Jeff Kerr @JeffKerrCBS

A.J. Brown was having fun in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Eagles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Eagles</a> locker room after the win, smiling about the victory. <br><br>Didn't see any sign of the player that looked pissed on the broadcast.

Brown, 25, was superb in his first season with the Eagles, catching 88 passes for a franchise-record 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns. He combined with DeVonta Smith (95 catches for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns) to give Philly arguably the best receiving duo in the NFL.

Brown's role will likely be bigger in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday against a San Francisco 49ers team that ranked second in the NFL against the run this season, giving up only 77.7 yards per game on the ground.

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

A.J. Brown set career-highs in receiving yards (649), touchdowns (7), and receiving yards over expected (+222) on vertical routes as the Eagles main target in 2022.<br><br>The 49ers allowed 1,248 yards to vertical routes this season (5th-most in the NFL).<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SFvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SFvsPHI</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FlyEaglesFly?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FlyEaglesFly</a> <a href="https://t.co/wsD36ml82m">pic.twitter.com/wsD36ml82m</a>

If Brown and Smith have big games against the Niners, the Eagles will be tough to slow down. Philadelphia has featured one of the most balanced offenses in football this season, ranking ninth in passing (241.5 YPG) and fifth in rushing (147.6 YPG).

Part of that has been quarterback Jalen Hurts' ability to make plays with both his arm and his legs. But Philly's collection of playmakers has forced defenses into matchup nightmares all over the field.

Against the Giants, the Eagles pounded the ball on the ground to the tune of 268 yards. Against the Niners, Brown seems likely to be a much larger part of the game plan.