On the field, DeSean Jackson has been dismantling the Eagles' defense in practice. But off the field, the wide receiver has been busy building the unit back up, aiding in the recruiting of cornerback Orlando Scandrick to the team.
Jackson and Scandrick have known each other since childhood, so when the Eagles had the free agent defensive back in for a workout on Saturday, of course the longtime friends discussed the possibility of playing together — for the first time at any level.
“He called me asking, ‘Should I come? What do you think?’” Jackson said after Monday’s practice, Scandrick’s first with the team. “I was like, 'Yeah, that would be a good opportunity for you to come play in this defense.'
“To add his experience to what we already have, it’s going to be good.”
Scandrick, 32, is heading into his 12th NFL season, including 11 years with the Dallas Cowboys, primarily as a nickel cornerback. After a brief stint in Washington’s camp, he spent 2018 with the Chiefs, appearing in 16 games (including playoffs) with 44 tackles, 13 pass breakups, a forced fumble and an interception.
With Jalen Mills opening training camp on the physically unable to perform list and Cre’Von LeBlanc out with a foot injury, the Eagles quickly ran into a depth issue at nickel corner — so much so, safety Malcolm Jenkins was getting second-team reps there.
“For me, it always was just finding a good fit,” Scandrick said. “Finding a situation or team with a winning culture, with a great mix of players and great coaches, and just really a great football organization.
“They have a great thing going here.”
Scandrick declined to comment on whether he had other offers and chose not to reflect on his season in Kansas City. Nor does he think much of the narrative about playing in Dallas almost his entire career, then signing with a bitter rival, saying only, “That’s the furthest thing from my mind.”
He’s here to contribute and lock down a roster spot — something that currently looks very plausible given Mills’ and LeBlanc’s injuries are likely to keep them out for most of camp, if not longer.
“I’ve trained. I’m in good shape,” Scandrick said. “To me, it’s kind of become like an addiction. I’m going into my 12th year. Including college, another three years, and then playing since I’m a little kid, this is almost 20-plus years of football for me.
“I still love the game. I know I love the game when I still get jitters and butterflies before practices and before games.”
It sounds like Scandrick might’ve jumped on an offer from the Eagles regardless of the circumstances.
Jackson’s presence just sweetened the deal.
“We talked about it and I stressed I would like to play with him,” Scandrick said. “We have never gotten a chance to play together and we’ve known each since we were 7, 8 years old.
“He’s been great for me. He’s constantly calling me, asking me if I need anything off the field and helping me. That was part of what made me feel comfortable coming here.”
Jackson did something else for Scandrick — offered his new teammate a little advice about how to make Eagles fans forget he played in Dallas for so many years.
“Just do everything you can to have them change their perception of you being a Cowboy,” Jackson said. “Whatever you can do to show them that you’re here and you want to be part of what we’ve got going here.
“Just put the hard work in. Philadelphia loves when one of their guys are in the community, putting hard work in on the field, off the field. As long as he does that, he’ll be fine.”
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.