The Eagles are making improved special teams a focus of their offseason so far.
The latest signing is former Texans outside linebacker Bryan Braman (6-5, 241).
"You don’t find many players of Bryan’s size with the ability to run down the field and make plays on special teams," said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly in a statement released by the team. "It's an area of the game that we always have our eye on and look to improve. With his size, we also like his potential as a guy who can compete for spot as an outside linebacker."
Added Howie Roseman: "We are always looking for core special teams players and Bryan has made his mark in this league on those units. He was a Pro Bowl alternate two years ago. He’s a big, physical player who plays with a tremendous amount of toughness."
Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Braman signed a two-year deal worth $3.15M ($1M guaranteed).
Braman has taken a roundabout path to Philadelphia. In 2006, he red-shirted at Idaho. In 2007 and 2008, he moved on to Long Beach City College. And then he attended West Texas A&M where Braman got kicked out of school for possession of psilocybe mushrooms, according to John McClain of The Houston Chronicle:
Braman worked as a bouncer during the NFL lockout and hoped a team would call. In June, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of psilocybe mushrooms. He paid a $2,000 fine. Thirty days later, the prosecutor terminated the one-year probation, and his case was dismissed.
The story includes several other nuggets. For example, Braman gets his size from his grandfather, who is 7-4, 460. And when his teammates cut off his dreadlocks in college, he saved them in a plastic bag.
On the field, he had eight special-teams tackles last year, according to Pro Football Focus. That was second on the team. In 2012, he contributed with a team-high 16 special-teams tackles and two blocked punts.
At outside linebacker, the Eagles currently have Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Braman and Casey Matthews. Braman's value is primarily on special teams, so it's likely the Eagles add another outside linebacker either in free agency or the draft.
Below is video of Braman making a tackle without a helmet from 2011.