After serving as a vital puzzle piece in Seattle’s 2022 late playoff push, linebacker Jordyn Brooks went down with an ACL injury in the Seahawks’ Week 17 victory over the New York Jets. Defying the odds, the Texas Tech alum beat the doctor's recovery timetable to return for Sunday's season opener against the Los Angeles Rams.
Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game of football, but Brooks was able to make a rapid recovery from the first serious injury of his career. During his time at Texas Tech, Brooks fought through nagging shoulder injuries while playing 46 games in four seasons for the Red Raiders, but said last week he'd never suffered a serious injury. When Brooks went down in Seattle's winning effort against the Jets, the initial thought was that he'd miss significant time.
"He's doing really well," said Carroll at the time. "The process is happening, the whole rehab process, but it's going to be a while. A healthy young kid, he's going to be able to bounce back as fast as you can come back, and he's a hard worker and pushes himself and all of that. But you've got to just hope for a smooth process along the way so there's no setbacks."
The average timeline for an ACL injury can be anywhere between nine months to a year, but not for Brooks. During the summer when Seattle returned for offseason workouts, Brooks was nearly ready to go after working out all summer in his home state of Texas. Now, just eight months after being carted off the field last January, Brooks suited up for Seattle's season opener Sunday against the Rams.
Seattle fell 30-13 in front of home fans in a disappointing loss to start the season. But if there are any moral victories to take from the game, Brooks overcoming a major knee injury to play in more than half of the defense's snaps is an accomplishment to applaud. After contributing 12 tackles, the second most on the team behind Bobby Wagner's 19, Brooks discussed the feeling after the game of taking the field in such a short time.
"It was special," said Brooks. "Just to be out there with the guys, like you said, not the outcome that we wanted, but it was great to be out there. It was very humbling. I'm just grateful to be out there, so I thank God."
Over the course of Brooks' first-two seasons in the league, he learned the ropes from Wagner. In 2022, the pair were on opposite teams, as Wagner spent the season with the Rams. Now, with the two reunited following Wagner's return via free agency, the fourth-year linebacker shared his excitement of having Wagner back next to him on the field.
"Having a guy like that next to me makes my job 10-times easier. The communication part of it is probably the biggest part. I don't know how many tackles he had; he probably had 100 tackles today. I just appreciate playing next to him. We'll get over this one and bounce back."
It took Brooks no time to get back into the action, helping Seattle hold the Rams under 100-yards on the ground and a 2.3 yards-per-carry average, but Los Angeles managed to score three touchdowns on the ground in the redzone. Brooks spoke on Seattle's improvement from allowing 131 yards per game last season, while addressing the problem going forward.
"I thought we played pretty good versus the run today," said Brooks. "We had a few mistakes there at the end as far as penalties, but I thought, for the most part, we played sound in the front seven."
Brooks elaborated on what the Rams did right in the second half, scoring 23 unanswered points.
"We just couldn't get off the field on third-down," said Brooks. "We let some explosive plays get out on us, which led to some field goals. I think they only scored two touchdowns, but they got a bunch of field goals, and good field position. We've just got to clean some things on defense for third-down and we'll be right where we need to be."
Seattle will go back to the drawing board ahead of next Sunday's road matchup against the Detroit Lions. They'll do so with a key component in Brooks healthy and ready to make a difference.