Eagles

Haason Reddick expects a family affair in return to the Linc

Haason Reddick expects a family affair in return to the Linc

Haason Reddick doesn't know exactly how many family members and friends he'll have at the Linc on Sunday afternoon. 

All he knows is there will be a lot. 

"I got a whole city coming out," he said on a conference call with Philly reporters Wednesday. 

Sunday will be a homecoming for the Cardinals' rookie linebacker. Reddick is from Camden, New Jersey, and played high school ball at Haddon Heights HS before crossing the river to walk on at Temple, where he eventually became a star.

Reddick became the 13th overall pick this past spring and has been starting for the Cardinals as a rookie. While Lincoln Financial Field was his home as a Temple Owl, Sunday's Eagles-Cardinals game will be the first time a lot of his family and friends get to see him in the NFL. 

And they'll get to do it about 15 minutes from where Reddick grew up. 

Reddick said he got about 20 tickets and his dad got some more and there are others who bought their own tickets to see him play against the hometown team on Sunday. He wasn't sure how many will be there. 

"I'm expecting a lot, man," he said laughing. "I'm expecting a lot." 

The last time Reddick played at the Linc, he had a ton of support from family and friends too. On Nov. 26 of last year, Temple hosted ECU at the Linc on senior night. The Owls owned the Pirates, 37-10, in front of a crowd of over 28,000. 

After that game, Reddick had just two more in a cherry and white uniform before his great college career came to an end. From that point on, the draft prep began. So too did his ascent to the top of his class. Once thought to be a possible mid-round pick, Reddick sky-rocketed to become the first linebacker off the board. 

In fact, he was selected as a linebacker after playing defensive end in college. He started that transition at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. and was immediately impressive. 

To start his career with the Cardinals, Reddick has been an inside linebacker, but with an injury to Markus Golden, it's very likely he'll see more time as a pass-rushing outside 'backer from here on. Reddick admitted being a pass rusher is a little more natural to him. 

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said there was something "special" about Reddick that allowed him to start at ILB as a rookie. 

"First of all, we knew he was tough," Arians said to Philly media on Wednesday. "He came up the right way. Great mom and pop. Nothing handed to him, had to work for everything. He's brought that work ethic with him. Temple kids are very, very proud."

Reddick was drafted one spot before the Eagles selected Derek Barnett from Tennessee. Reddick said the Eagles showed some interest in him but it's hard to tell what's really going on around draft time. 

While he wasn't drafted by the Eagles, the draft was in Philly, so when his name was called, the crowd went nuts. That's part of the reason he expects a warm welcome from Philly fans on Sunday at the Linc. 

"I believe so," Reddick said. "You never really know what the Philly crowd ... the Philly crowd has always been a wild crowd, I like to say. Growing up, going to a couple of Philadelphia Eagles games, I would alway see how the crowd would react. But I'm from Philly. Philly will always be home. I will always have love for Philly."

It's pure coincidence but Reddick, who is from the Philadelphia area, was drafted in Philly and now gets to come back as a rookie to play in front of his family and friends. He called it "a beautiful thing."

Another thing of beauty is going to be consumed by him and his teammates this weekend. When asked if there's some type of food item he misses when he's away from home, Reddick didn't hesitate. 

"Oh, definitely. You know that," he said. "I got to get a cheesesteak, man. I've been telling the guys here about how good the cheesesteaks are. When I come home, I'm going to make it my business to make sure me and the guys get some cheesesteaks."

He didn't call it a "Philly cheesesteak." That's because he's from here and he knows there's no other kind. 

If nothing else, that's a reason to cheer on Sunday.

Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

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Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Mack Hollins
Roob: Hollins wasn't really a factor later in the season, once Torrey Smith got going, but he did show early in the year what kind of player he can be, notably with that 64-yard TD catch in the second Redskins game. Depending on what the Eagles do about Smith, Hollins should be either the Eagles' third or fourth receiver this fall. Either way, he'll be here, and I expect him to make a big jump in Year 2.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Hollins caught just 16 passes as a rookie and it seemed like he just never started producing the way he seems capable of. Even when Smith struggled, Hollins got more playing time and didn't produce. The good news is he's still young and plays a role on special teams. The Eagles will probably bolster their receiving corps in some way, but if they don't, Hollins will have a shot at starting if Smith is gone next season. 

Verdict: STAYS

Alshon Jeffery
Roob: Jeffery really played better than his stats this year. He made every big catch, caught every big third-down pass, made huge plays in the end zone. Jeffery was a star receiver without a star receiver's stats. His unselfish attitude carried over to the rest of the receivers and throughout the roster. And he did it all with a rotator cuff injury that required post-season surgery. Can't wait to see what Alshon can do healthy.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Jeffery didn't put up eye-popping numbers during the regular season, but if you needed any proof he's a No. 1 receiver, go back and watch Super Bowl LII, when he made that ridiculous catch in the end zone for a huge touchdown. The good thing about Jeffery is he really doesn't care at all about his numbers. There are a lot of diva receivers in the NFL, but Jeffery clearly isn't one of them. All he cared about last year was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and he certainly helped get the Eagles there. 

Verdict: STAYS

Malcolm Jenkins
Roob: Jenkins has so many roles on and off the field — community activist, NFLPA organizer, locker room leader — it's easy to forget just how good a player he is. Jenkins has been here four years and has had four very solid, very consistent, very productive seasons. He made his second Pro Bowl this year and joined Bill Bradley (3) and Dawk (7) as only the third Eagles safety since 1960 to make multiple Pro Bowls. Jenkins is signed to a cap-friendly deal through 2020 and should be an Eagle for many years to come.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: As important as Jenkins is to the Eagles as a safety and defensive back, you could make a legitimate argument that he's even more important to the team as a leader and man. There's a reason he became the guy to follow up Doug Pederson's postgame speeches. He isn't just the leader of the defense; he's the leader of the entire team. And on the field, he's still playing at a really high, Pro Bowl caliber level. He's 30 now but is still signed through 2020 and maybe outside of Fletcher Cox is the Eagles' most important defensive player. 

Verdict: STAYS

Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

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Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Darrell Greene
Roob: The Hall of Fame cornerback is now 58 years old and 21 years removed from his last Pro Bowl season with the Redskins. Oh wait … wrong Darrell Green. This is Darrell GREENE, and he's a 6-foot-3, 320-pound guard out of San Diego State who's been on the Eagles' practice squad most of the last two years. The Eagles liked Greene enough to keep him around the last couple years, and unless they see something in Chance Warmack that I missed, Greene has a chance to stick around as a young O-line prospect.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Greene has been around now for the last two seasons. He was without a team for most of 2017; the Eagles didn't bring him back to the practice squad until December. The offensive guard had some real potential coming out of San Diego State, and the Eagles paid him a lot of guaranteed money to sign as an undrafted free agent before 2016. But he's never really impressed them enough to stick around for good. 

Verdict: GOES

Jordan Hicks
Roob: With Hicks, it's always about durability, not ability. Hicks has played more than half a season only once in his three NFL seasons, and since he's under contract for 2018 with a modest $2.068 million cap figure, he's obviously not going anywhere. The question is what the Eagles do with him after 2018 when he's due to become a free agent. Hicks can play. We all know that. He needs to prove this year that he can stay healthy in order to get a big-money deal a year from now.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Losing Hicks was a problem in 2017 and his absence started showing up late in the season. He's a big-time playmaker. It's a shame he got hurt last year because if he didn't, he'd be in line for a payday. For now, he'll be back in the final year of his four-year rookie contract until he can prove he's the same player he was pre-injury. 

Verdict: STAYS

Kamu Grugier-Hill
Roob: Grugier-Hill must be Howie Roseman's dream. He's signed at the minimum through 2019 but is an awfully valuable member of the roster — a reserve linebacker and emergency kicker and maybe the team's best special teamer. Kamu's not going anywhere.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: He really doesn't play at all as a linebacker, but Grugier-Hill has become one of the best special teams players in the NFL and had a real chance to be named a Pro Bowler in 2017. He led the team in special teams tackles with 19 last season. He's still young, cheap and is a big part of Dave Fipp's group. 

Verdict: STAYS