Has any Philly athlete ever experienced the highs and lows that Nelson Agholor has experienced?
From three crucial first-down catches on the game-winning drive in a Super Bowl to … to pretty much everything since.
Nelly’s Eagles career is most likely over after five years. He caught just 39 passes for 363 yards and three TDs in 11 games this year and missed six of the last eight games while battling a mysterious knee injury.
After catching 18 passes for 168 yards and three TDs the first three weeks of the season, he had only 21 catches for 195 yards and no TDs in his last eight games.
And now he’s about to become a free agent for the first time.
Agholor spoke Monday, a day after the Eagles’ season ended, and reflected on five years of extreme highs and the lowest of the lows.
“Amazing,” he said. “Growth. Definitely growth. Opportunity to go through hard times and be at the highest point of happiness, too. I think I saw lows and I saw the ultimate high and in those opportunities is when you grow the most.”
Agholor had 9-for-84 in the Super Bowl, including three catches for 42 yards on the game-winning fourth-quarter drive.
That was supposed to be a springboard to bigger and better things for Agholor.
It never happened.
“The ultimate high, I’ve had some lows that really helped me grow as a man and put me at peace with understanding things you can’t control and also looking at yourself in the mirror and finding ways to get better,” he said. “It’s been a beautiful thing and it’s really helped form who I am as a man and I’m happy for that.”
It’s tricky trying to determine Agholor’s value on the open market.
He’s got 224 catches for 2,515 yards and 18 TDs over the last five years, which puts him between 40th and 50th in the league since he entered the league as a 1st-round pick in 2015.
Someone will sign him, but it will likely be an incentive-laden deal more in the $3 million per year range than the $9.4 million he earned this year.
“Having a choice is a good thing, but they always say the grass is always greener on the other side, so you have to remember that,” he said. “It’s a blessing to have been a Philadelphia Eagle and if the opportunity continues to be here I’ll be happy for that, too.”
Agholor described his knee injury as degloving, which happens when your skin is torn from the bone or connective tissue.
He said he underwent five treatments to try and resolve the problem and get on the field. He stayed on the 53-man roster because his doctors felt he had a chance to recover.
“You don’t put somebody on IR when you’re trying to follow protocol that could bring them back,” he said.
He said he’s seeing a specialist in Pittsburgh to learn more about the injury and determine what to do next.
“It ended up overtaking my kneecap and my quad muscle,” he said. “Degloving is something that happens to people who get into car accidents and it’s a shearing of the tissue that forms continuous inflammation. I have studied it a little bit, but it’s hard for me to explain because it’s like how the hell do you do that in football? But it happened.”
Agholor first hurt his knee back in Week 5 in a loss to the Vikings. He aggravated it a month later when he landed on his knee in the end zone at the end of loss to the Patriots.
How much were his knee issues related to his inability to make the big plays he had a chance to make? We’ll never know.
“It wasn’t easy at all,” he said about the 2019 season. “It’s something I hated. I want to be healthy and play at a high level to help these guys out. It was a learning opportunity for me. Obviously when you go through things like this when you’re younger it’s a little bit harder. When you’re older it’s a chance for you to grow.”
When Agholor plays football again, it will be somewhere else. Few people have ever been in need of the proverbial fresh start more than Agholor.
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