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What really makes Eagles receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith so special

The star wide receivers share an important family bond that is appreciated not just on the football field.

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How close are DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown?

Sure, they talk every day. But it goes beyond that.

So do their kids.

DeVonta’s daughter Kyse is 7 months old. Brown’s daughter Jersee turns 4 next month, and his son A.J. Jr. will be 2 in September.

“We make sure that we talk on the phone every day,” Smith said. “Whether it's football, life.

“Last night, we had the kids on the phone talking. You know, babies just sitting there doing baby talk.” 

That’s close.

It can be a tricky dynamic, having two star receivers. There can be jealousy, hard feelings, unhealthy competitiveness.

Maybe one guy had 100 yards and the other guy only got one target. Maybe one guy keeps getting the ball in the end zone and the other doesn’t. Maybe one guy gets a bigger contract.

With Brown and Smith, you don’t have to worry about any of that.

Smith, who signed a contract extension on Monday, spoke at length Tuesday about his relationship with Brown.

“We're always happy for each other,” he said. “He called and congratulated me. With us, it's always looking forward to the things to come. Learning a new offense, putting things together that we did very well last year with Kellen (Moore) and putting things that he did (well) last year and putting it together and trying to get back ultimately to win a Super Bowl.”

Brown signed a four-year, $100 million contract as part of his trade from the Titans in April 2022. Smith signed a deal worth $75 million over three years.

The Eagles for now are the first team in NFL history with two receivers averaging $25 million per year. The Dolphins, who already have Tyreek Hill at $30 million per year, will join them as soon as Jaylen Waddell – Smith’s Alabama teammate – gets his anticipated extension.

Remember, Smith and Brown didn’t know each other until two years ago. So to hear Smith describe their relationship today, to know their kids have even bonded? It speaks well of Nick Sirianni’s emphasis on his players connecting and how that translates into success on the field.

“I think at the end of the day, any problem that would happen is (if there were) jealousy between one of them,” Sirianni said. “But these guys love each other. These two guys have a great relationship. And that's what you're trying to create for your entire football team. And it's a great example. I feel like I'm able to use them a lot as far as the example of how teammates respond to each other.

“DeVonta is genuinely happy when A.J. has a good game and A.J. is genuinely happy when DeVonta has a good game and they help each other get better throughout the week." 

Brown had 88 catches for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2022 and 106-for-1,456 with seven TDs last year. Smith was 95-for-1,196-7 in 2022 and 81-for-1,066-7 this past season.

How special is this duo?

The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to have a wide receiver duo with at least 80 catches, 1,000 yards, seven touchdowns and a 12.6 average in consecutive seasons.

Brown’s 2,952 yards are the most in franchise history by a player in his first two years with the Eagles. Smith’s 3,178 yards are 3rd-most by a player in his first three years, behind DeSean Jackson and Mike Quick.

Superstar wide receivers can be jerks. They can be divas. They can be egotistical. They can be me-first. 

We’ve all seen it.

The Eagles don’t just have two star wideouts. They have two team-first guys who when things are going well are as happy for the other one as they are for themselves

“Two guys that understand one another,” Smith said. “If we don't have big games and the other one does, be happy for each other. It's never a time that we're sitting up there, you know, mad at each other, mad at anyone about not getting targets.

“Let's be realistic. Everybody wants to make that big play. And you should be happy that you have a guy like that. Because you have a lot of guys that when that time comes, they'll shy away from the moment. You have a guy like him, you have a guy like me, we're never going to shy away from the moment. 

“When that moment comes, we always want to be a part of it. And I think that's the good thing about it. You have two guys who want to be the Alpha. And I feel like that's a good thing. You have two guys that are happy for each other. 

“Just us being real close outside of football. I mean, football is one thing, but I think just the relationship off the field with each other (is another).”

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