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A.J. Brown was the favorite target of Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill over the past three seasons.
On Tuesday, Tannehill spoke to the media for the first time since the electric Pro Bowl wideout was traded Thursday to the Philadelphia Eagles during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Tannehill acknowledged he will miss his former teammate both professionally and personally.
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“Obviously, professionally, it hurt,” Tannehill told reporters. “Top target, heckuva football player, made big plays for us consistently over the last three years.”
“Personally, it hurt,” he added. You know A.J.’s a good friend. Have a lot of great times, great memories on and off the field with him. “Not being able to see him on a daily basis is going to be different, going to be hard. Happy to see him get what he wanted, but at the end of the day, it hurts.”
The Eagles acquired Brown in exchange for a pair of draft picks, including the No. 18 overall pick, which the Titans used to select Arkansas standout Treylon Burks. During three seasons with the Razorbacks, Burks totaled 2,399 receiving yards and caught 18 touchdown passes, as he hopes to be Tannehill’s new top target.
TITANS SEND AJ BROWN TO EAGLES IN BLOCKBUSTER TRADE
After the trade was announced, Tannehill took to social media to bid farewell to Brown, who he called his “brother for life.”
“Saying ‘it’s a business’ never makes the business moments any easier, but I’m grateful to have built a bond with this dude that goes way beyond the field,” he wrote on Instagram. “My brother for life @1k_alwaysopen…Philly got a great one.”
Tannehill will now be competing with Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, who the Titans grabbed with the No. 86 overall pick in the third round. Meanwhile, the loss of Brown came after speculation that the team would trade him amid an already eventful offseason surrounding NFL wide receivers.
The wide receiver market has exploded this offseason, with Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, and Christian Kirk all receiving massive deals. Speedy wide receiver Deebo Samuel has also reportedly requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers.
Drafted by the Titans in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Brown caught 185 passes for 2,995 yards and 24 touchdowns over three seasons in Nashville. He was given a four-year, $100 million contract extension with $57 million guaranteed as a part of the trade, the NFL Network reported.
During a news conference Monday, Brown declined whether he requested a trade. He called leaving the Titans “bittersweet,” while expressing his excitement for the next chapter in Philadelphia.
“It was bittersweet, I was a little sad that the Titans were on board with the trade, but it’s a part of the business and that’s fine,” Brown said, via NFL.com. “Once everything got done and the trade went through and [Eagles quarterback] Jalen Hurts called me, he made it a lot easier. Like I said, it’s been bittersweet, but I’m so excited to be a part of a great organization.”
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“Things happen and you move on. I appreciate the Titans for everything they did for me,” he added. “I have no bad blood with the Titans.”
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report