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Back injuries forced Braden Mann to switch positions. Now, he's "loving" being a part of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Philadelphia Eagles punter Braden Mann talks offseason with the team, hopes for 2024
Philadelphia Eagles punter Braden Mann talks offseason with the team, hopes for 2024 21:41

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Injuries can derail the careers of many aspiring professional football players across the United States, but it worked out differently for Braden Mann. 

Mann, the punter of the Philadelphia Eagles, grew up in Cypress, Texas, and multiple back injuries forced to him to pick up a position that didn't demand as much physicality as a linebacker. 

Mann said he suffered two back fractures growing up -- one in eighth grade and one in high school -- but the injuries and position change benefited him in the long term as he's entering his second year as the punter of the Eagles and the fifth year of his NFL career. 

"Looking back, I'm glad it happened," Mann said on an episode of "Gallen of Questions," airing Saturday nights at 8 p.m. on PHILLY57 and CBS Philadelphia. 

Before he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL draft by the New York Jets, Mann was one of the best punters in the country at Texas A&M University. 

With the Aggies, Mann earned unanimous All-American honors as a junior and earned the Ray Guy Award, which is given to college football's most outstanding punter. In that same year, he was the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year and earned First-Team All-SEC. Mann also made the first team as a senior in 2019. 

Before Braden Mann was the punter of the Philadelphia Eagles, he played linebacker as a kid playing football growing up. However multiple back injuries forced him to switch positions. 

Mann also broke multiple NCAA Division I records at Texas A&M, including single-game punting average, single-season punts of 60-plus yards and single-season punting average.

Mann worked tirelessly to perfect his craft as a punter following his injuries in eighth grade and high school. Behind the scenes, he would work on his drops as a punter about 300 to 500 times in row and walk about a mile in the process. 

It was tedious, but Mann just it took it one day at a time. 

"If you just can make it enjoyable, it's much more easier and it's much more fun," Mann said. 

"Loving being a part of" the KB Foundation 

Earlier this year, Mann worked with the KB Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia that's committed to mentoring and serving youth across the Delaware Valley. 

Mann and other mentors painted shoes at the Guerin Recreation Center in South Philadelphia to help a group of teenagers raise money for a summer trip to Africa

"It was a lot of fun connecting with them and hanging out," Mann said. "We talked why they wanted to paint the shoes the way they did. When someone can express why they're doing something, it gives them more insight into their life, so it was great to get with them. The KB Foundation is awesome, and I'm really loving being a part of that." 

Mann is still doing work with the KB Foundation by renting out his services as a punter. He recently auctioned off a signed jersey and punting lessons for charity, and he plans to do the same thing with a signed football. 

Mann offers private lessons but said this is a way to do it while having a positive impact on the community. 

Mann confident Eagles can bounce back after ugly 2023 finish

For Mann, this is the first time he's able to experience the Eagles' offseason program. 

Last season, Mann signed onto Philadelphia's practice squad after the team released Arryn Siposs in September. 

Before his time with the Eagles, Mann played for the Jets and briefly spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Mann said the biggest difference between Philly and those two teams is the culture set in the building at NovaCare Complex. 

"When we're away from the building, we're still hanging out with everybody, trying to get our wives and kids together, just trying to connect out of the building while we're away," Mann said. "They do a really good job of that here, and I'm just now experiencing that for the first time because this is my first offseason with them."

But in Mann's first year with the Birds, the team's season ended ugly. They started out as the best team in football at 10-1 but lost six of their final seven games, including a playoff exit against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild card round of the playoffs to end their season, which led to multiple changes on the coaching staff.  

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 25: Braden Mann #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles punts against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. Adam Hunger / Getty Images

And heading into the offseason, they lost two pillars on both sides of the ball in center Jason Kelce and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to retirement. 

Mann knows the team will miss them both, but he's confident the Eagles can be a Super Bowl-caliber team like they were in 2022. 

"Just having fun," Mann said. "I feel like — the first 11 weeks of the season we were having probably the most fun in the NFL. Obviously, you have more fun when you're winning ... so I think the more fun you have, the more you win, the more you win, the more you have fun. So I think it's about connecting and doing it as a team and as a unit. I think that a lot of good things are happening this offseason, everybody comes in here pretty fired up every day, so that's really fun to be apart of. I'm really excited for this season."

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