Eagles

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.