Haason Reddick

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.

Temple product Haason Reddick displaying intangibles to succeed with Cardinals

Temple product Haason Reddick displaying intangibles to succeed with Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. — While the physical talent is a known quantity, the push for Haason Reddick to succeed must come from within. A combination of talent, knowledge, acumen, desire and all the other tangibles and intangibles that make up an NFL player tend to be byproducts of the journey.

The capacity to succeed and aptitude for success, many believe, lay between the ears. If that is the criteria for personal conquest in the NFL, then Camden, New Jersey, native Reddick, selected by the Arizona Cardinals with their first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2017 draft, is clearly on the right path.

Here in the beginning of training camp, Reddick transitions to the NFL with a quiet confidence. He projects an image that embodies the essence of combining physical conditioning with his value to the Cardinals. While Reddick recognizes the task ahead, he also shifts to the future with a clear vision.

“I think I can be great,” he said Friday before practice at the University of Phoenix Stadium. “I always believed in myself. As soon as I learn, I mean really learn, what I’m supposed to do, that’s when I’ll let loose and let my talent take over. Then, I’ll be able to be great.”

As Reddick begins his introduction to the NFL, the projection and forecast for this hybrid player seem off the charts. With the speed of a defensive back, the mobility of a linebacker and the physical nature of a defensive lineman, Reddick could be the prototype of the future. Listed at 6-1 and 235 pounds, the physical tools are clearly in place. Now, comes the education.

Amid great appraisal and assessment, Reddick now descends on the NFL level. From a walk-on at Temple, to All-American stature and a first-round selection, his physical tools represent the height of his talent. When Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said Reddick possesses “unbelievable talent and speed,” the accolades, like a geyser, pour from this core.

For now, Reddick is penciled in at the hybrid spot, a position known in the Cardinals’ defense as “the dollar linebacker.” That’s currently held by Deone Bucannon, who's recovering from ankle surgery this past May and is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Listed as a linebacker on the Cardinals' depth chart, Reddick continues to prepare for a myriad of roles. At the center, Arians identities the South Jersey native as “a pure pass rusher.”

With his talents clearly in place, the processing of information now begins for Reddick.

“He needs to be a sponge and make sure his sponge is never filled,” said veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby, who is entering his 14th NFL season. “His talent is off the chart. It’s about how he uses that talent and how he prepares.”

For now, Larry Foote, the Cardinals' linebacker coach, and Dansby are the two most prominent figures on Reddick’s radar screen. Hugging his playbook before bed each night and reviewing pages the next morning, Reddick said the introduction to the NFL can be overwhelming. Clearly, preparation for the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and all others this fall is a far change from a year ago. That’s when Reddick and the Owls began preparation for Army, Central Florida and Memphis.

Now, Reddick has traded cherry and white for cardinal red and, as his NFL career nears its advent, he is prepared to move forward.

“The transition is about stepping up and maximizing my full potential,” he said. “It’s about coming in and making an impact wherever I’m needed. There’s an understanding about that now. I’m in the NFL, and going against way better competition. Guys have been doing this for a living, and now are really serious.”

Temple DE Haason Reddick 'overwhelmed' after Cardinals take him 13th overall

Temple DE Haason Reddick 'overwhelmed' after Cardinals take him 13th overall

Haason Reddick started the next chapter in his success story Thursday night.

The Temple product was taken 13th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL draft. He becomes the second-highest selection ever for a Temple player.

Reddick will call a new coast his home next season, but he has plenty in common with his new head coach Bruce Arians. Arians was Temple's head football coach from 1983-88.

"To play for a fellow Temple guy, that's special," Reddick said through a smile at the podium, sporting a red tie to match his Cardinals fitted hat.

But that's not all of the ties Reddick has to Arians.

While Arians was at Temple, he coached running back Paul Palmer, a former Heisman Trophy runner-up who was selected 19th overall in the 1987 NFL draft. 

Palmer is an assistant coach at Haddon Heights High School in Camden, New Jersey, where Reddick went to high school. Palmer witnessed the transformation Reddick went through from a cornerback at Haddon Heights to a dominant edge rusher for the Owls. 

"[Palmer] coached me and now [Arians] is going to get a chance to coach me, as well," Reddick said. "It's just like a generational thing. It's being passed down, passed down, passed down from Temple alums. That's special right there."

For Reddick, the process of walking across the art museum steps and hearing his named called in the city he played college football in was a long one. At one point, Reddick thought he was going to be a "regular college student."

Reddick walked on at Temple and was told he wasn't being brought back by then-head coach Steve Addazio in 2013. 

But when Addazio left North Broad Street for the head coaching job at Boston College, and Matt Rhule became the head coach, Francis Brown, the defensive backs coach, fought for Reddick to stay on the team.

Rhule trusted Brown and brought back Reddick, who helped Temple win its first conference championship since 1967. 

"I never thought what could come out of it until my junior year in college," Reddick said. "And I put in even more work the senior season and continued to grind, continued to work hard. And now that I'm here, I finally got my name called and it's still sinking in, man. It's still sinking in. I'm being overwhelmed by emotions but it's still sinking in."

Prior to Reddick's earning a scholarship at Temple, his mother took out a loan for him to have a meal plan. His father was also always there to support him when he was uncertain of his football career.

In the lead up to the draft, Reddick had often talked about getting his mother a house where the sun shines. Somewhere in Arizona might be a good spot.

"It was beautiful," Reddick said of getting the phone call from Cardinals general manager Steve Keim. "I'm glad I had the people I had around me. Most of the people there are people that stuck with me throughout this whole journey. And to be able to share that moment with them, I wouldn't want to spend that moment any other way."