PHILADELPHIA -- A.J. Brown's touchdown celebration said it all.
After hauling in a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts early in the second quarter in the Eagles' 35-10 win over the Tennessee Titans, Brown pulled out a towel, ran towards the goal post, wagged his finger at it as if it misbehaved, and then slapped the post with the towel three times before giving it a hug.
The message was directed at his old team.
"Today, I'm going to have to give you this whooping," he said. "But I still love you, though."
That touchdown was overturned because Brown didn't get a second foot in bounds, but he scored on the very next play, and ended with eight catches, 119 yards and two touchdowns. After the second score, he pulled the towel out again.
"This one meant a lot to me. Early on I had mixed emotions about the trade and everything. I'd be lying to you to say I didn't circle this game," he said.
Brown was dealt from the Titans to the Eagles on the first night of the draft in April for the Nos. 18 and 101 overall picks. The trade was contingent on a new contract extension -- something Brown and the Titans could not come to terms on. Philadelphia signed him to a four-year, $100 million deal that includes $57 million guaranteed that night.
He's been dynamite for Philadelphia. Through 12 games, he has 61 catches, 950 yards and nine touchdowns.
Leading up to the game, Brown said the matchup wasn't personal. But he came clean afterwards about how much it meant to him.
"It's been personal since the trade to be honest. I've just been trying to keep it down," he said. "That's where I wanted to be and things didn't work out and it was kind of just, 'here you go -- we don't want you anymore,' and you kind of just get pushed to the side. In that situation for me, I had to grow up quick."
Brown added that he had "to learn it was a business" and that "of course I wanted to make them regret the decision."
The 7-5 Titans have missed his production. Heading into the game, rookie Treylon Burks was their leader in receiving yards with 369. Burks suffered a concussion against the Eagles Sunday after taking a hit from safety Marcus Epps on a spectacular touchdown catch.
"It's not about A.J.," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said, when asked if trading Brown was in the best interest of the team. "A.J. had a good game. We can't give up big plays on defense. We tried to make them earn it coming into the game, and clearly we weren't able to."
Brown grew animated late in the third quarter when Tennessee defensive back Andrew Adams tackled him by his lower right leg and appeared to continue to twist it even after Brown was on the ground.
"He kind of just rolled, kind of twisted my ankle. There's no need for those types of plays. Competing, doing whatever between the whistle, I'm all for it. If you get me, you got it. But dirty stuff after the play, I'm not going for that," Brown said. "I'm a man first. We play this game. We're playing football. I'm not out here trying to hurt you, so you should not be out here trying to hurt me. It's a mutual respect -- there should be. I'm not going for that."
That sequence aside, Brown expressed mostly love towards his former team and teammates, even if he was out to prove something to them.
"I think the whole world knew what it meant to him based off of who he is, how he is, and how he responds to certain things," said Hurts, who threw three touchdowns and ran for another against the Titans. "I'm happy that he put on a show. He's a special player and a good friend. He's a real special player. I know that we make a big deal about it, but hopefully we can move on from it now. He did what he did, and onto the next."