ELF: Prague Lions sign European and X-League veteran James Brooks

The Prague Lions of the European League of Football have signed a familiar face in international football veteran James Brooks. The savvy linebacker returns to Prague on a mission to help lead the Lions in the ELF.

Head coach Zach Harrod on his new veteran defender:

“I’m so excited to work with James again, not only because he will be a force on the field, but because we have our sights on so much more than just what will be on the field. It has been a huge boost for our program transitioning to the European League of Football having a guy with the experience and passion that James has. I’m thankful for this move and wishing all those QBs out there much luck versus him, he’s ready to hunt!”

Brooks, 34, knows Prague well as he played for the Lions for three seasons alongside head coach Zach Harrod from 2016-2018. He also was a defensive coordinator for the Prague Black Panthers in 2019. Now the 6’4 270-lb edge defender hopes to translate his knowledge and skill into wins for one of the ELF’s new franchises.

Lions defensive coordinator, Daniel Disch:

“James is a great addition for the Lions as we transition into the ELF – not only is he a great player – but he is a coach on the field. His play-making ability and leadership will be big for us.”

Brooks has been dominating offensive linemen across the globe since he first played abroad in Germany for the Cologne Falcons in 2013. Following his first international season in Germany, Brooks played in Poland for Kozly Poznan (2014, 2015) and the Czech Republic with the Prague Lions (2016-18). In 2019, he served as the defensive coordinator for the Prague Black Panthers who reached the Austrian Football League semifinals. Now he returns to the Czech Republic’s capital to help the Lions as they enter a new chapter in the franchise’s history.

In 2014, Brooks signed to play in Japan for IBM Big Blue in Japan’s X-League ever since. He has been All League in seven consecutive X-League seasons. In 2020 he earned AFI 2020 All-Pandemic Team. Last season he made 16 tackles and had one sack for the IBM Big Blue in five games.

Prior to playing in Japan and Europe, the Flagstaff, Arizona native was a standout player for his hometown Arizona State (NCAA DI). Brooks notched 53 tackles, 9 sacks, 18 tackles for a loss, and one interception in three seasons for the Sun Devils. He was best known for blocking two point after attempts in 2010 helping Arizona State to a dramatic double overtime win against arch-rival Arizona.

Brooks has signed a two-year contract with the Lions, a project to be an impact player both on the field and off with his wealth of experience, knowledge, and coaching experience. Brooks joins an impressive group of new Lions in Prague as receiver Vic Wharton (Cal NCAA DI), and Rogria Lewis (Alabama NCAA DI) are two new American imports joining Brooks. The X-League veteran will also join British linebacker Emmanuel Falola and some of the best talent in the Czech Republic featuring Jan Krys, Jakub Smutny, and Serbian defensive back Aleksandar Borkovic.

Read more about James Brooks

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and