It might be a surprise for some to see Kenny Gainwell’s production in the last two playoff games.
Not a surprise to Gainwell.
The moment isn’t too big and has never been too big for Playoff Kenny.
“I’ve always been like that my whole life,” Gainwell said on Thursday. “I never let the moment get to me. Even when I was in high school, went to the state championship. College, 2019, went to the AAC Championship, never let the moment get too big. Now we’re at this point. I’m at this point in my life and it’s a big moment but it won’t never get to me. I just stay focused, stay working.”
How does the 23-year-old Gainwell not let these moments get to him?
“I was just born like that I guess,” he said with a smile.
After having a somewhat up and down season in terms of production, Gainwell has been incredible in the Eagles’ first two playoff games. He has averaged 97.5 scrimmage yards against the Giants and 49ers after averaging just 24.1 during the regular season.
The second-year running back from Memphis is looking like the type of player the Eagles hoped they were getting when they drafted Gainwell in the fifth round last year.
And he’s picking a really good time to show it.
“There’s no surprise to what Kenny Gainwell has been able to do,” Jalen Hurts said. “Kenny is a hell of a player. All those guys, I always tell them, when your phone rings, answer it. They’ve all be able to answer for us. And we need it. One more game.”
Gainwell’s success isn’t a surprise to himself, Hurts or any of his teammates because they’re behind the scenes. They’re watching him put the work in, whether that’s in the film room, the meeting room, on the field, in the weight room. Gainwell is dedicated to getting better.
That’s why fellow running back Boston Scott is so proud of Gainwell’s success.
“He’s done a great job,” Scott said. “The talent is there but he’s continued to develop as a runner, as a route runner, his blocking responsibilities. Just seeing him throughout this process has been really cool. For him to have that type of success on the biggest stage is a testament to his work ethic, him being committed to being great.”
When asked what’s made the biggest difference in his career, Gainwell said being around other great players with the same desire to improve has really motivated him.
Gainwell said he played at around 190 pounds in college but he’s worked hard to transform his body in the NFL. These days, he’s playing around 202-205 pounds and that extra muscle shows up on tape.
If you’ve watched him this postseason, you’ve seen how hard he can be to bring down despite his smallish frame.
“I’ve always been a tough guy,” Gainwell said. “That’s just in my makeup. Fletch (his teammate and cousin Fletcher Cox) is the same way. That’s in our bloodline, to be hard-nosed, tough, never let the first man bring you down. If you get in a fight, don’t let the first person knock you out. You know, that’s just us. That’s always been me.”
Since the Eagles’ 31-7 win over the NFC Championship Game, Gainwell said he’s heard from a bunch of folks back in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and even got to talk his his old football coach, Robert Dobbs, from Yazoo County High School.
His hometown is buzzing for him. And they’ll be watching on Feb. 12.
“I’m super excited,” Gainwell said. “Happy to get a chance to go to Arizona. But it’s all about the work. Let’s just win it.”
Gainwell, by the way, is +8000 to win the Super Bowl MVP. Crazier things have happened.
And based on how the last month has gone, no one would be that surprised.
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