After years of injuries, Penny ready to ‘refresh, restart’ with Eagles


As Rashaad Penny walked through the auditorium at the NovaCare Complex on Thursday afternoon, he took some time to introduce himself and shake hands with the dozen or so reporters in attendance at his first press conference as an Eagle.

He is a new guy, after all.

Penny knows he can’t do anything to erase his injury history but he’s looking forward to moving past it. He’s looking forward to being a different player and a different person in the next chapter of his career.

And he thinks Philly the right spot for that.

“I feel like this is a great place to refresh, restart my career,” Penny said at his introductory press conference on Thursday. “I’m just excited to be here.”

Penny, 27, repeated that plenty of times on Thursday: Refresh, restart.

It’s the biggest reason he decided to sign with the Eagles as a free agent. And after five injury-plagued seasons as a first-round pick in Seattle, Penny is ready to begin the next chapter of his career on the opposite coast.

“I think that’s really important,” he said. “I think this is going to refresh my career, being here, just being an Eagle. I think this is a great opportunity for me.”

Because when anyone talks about Penny’s career, the first thing they’ll mention is his injuries. He’s been an incredibly productive and efficient runner in the NFL but he just hasn’t been available. After he played 14 games in his rookie season as a first-round pick out of San Diego State, Penny hasn’t played more than 10 in any of the last four seasons.


Since the beginning of the 2019 season, Penny has played just 28 of 65 possible games (43.1%) in the regular season. During his NFL career, Penny has had a broken finger, knee injuries including a torn ACL, a hamstring injury, a calf injury and he broke his left tibia in Week 5 last season.

The good news is that Penny on Thursday said he’s been cleared from that fracture from last season. So he’s finally healthy as he begins this new chapter.

“I feel really great,” he said. “I know I just feel like 17 games is really important to me. And I know in my right mind that being here, being an Eagle, great strength and training staff, great coaches, they all take care of players here. I’m excited to be here. I expect big things.”

The Eagles might expect big things too … but they didn’t have to pay like it. Because of that lengthy and concerning injury history, Penny’s one-year deal with the Eagles is of the low-risk, high-reward variety and includes just $600,000 in guaranteed money, according to NFL.com.

If he can stay healthy — and that’s obviously a gigantic if — this could end up being a steal.

Because Penny is very good. He has averaged 5.7 yards per carry in his NFL career and in the last two seasons, he’s averaged 6.3 and 6.1. He’s also incredibly explosive, has great vision and is powerful through contact, averaging 3.1 yards after contact over the past two seasons.

In his one game against the Eagles — a 17-9 Seahawks win in Philly in 2019 — Penny had 129 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries. It’s one of seven 100+ yard games in his career. Like we said, when this dude his healthy, he’s very good.

Despite the injuries, Penny has remained optimistic through a career that would leave many dejected. But he knows the injuries are on everyone’s mind. Health is at the forefront for him too.

“I want to play 17 games. I want to be available,” he said. “I’m positive and I’m very excited to be here.”

Penny said he’s known running backs coach Jemal Singleton for several years but doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends on the roster. He said he’s prepared for any role the Eagles give him. And he also said the Eagles’ scheme didn’t really factor into his decision.

The reasons Penny decided to join the Eagles are because he likes this spot to be his restart point. And because he watched how impressive the Eagles were last season. He pointed out the running back room, the talented pass catches, the amazing offensive line and a quarterback who was in the MVP running in 2022.

Jalen Hurts, by the way, has already reached out to Penny.

“He’s ready to win a Super Bowl,’ Penny said. “… I’m with him and I know the whole team is with him. I’m excited for this opportunity.”


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