Nelson Agholor walked into the Eagles’ locker room at the NovaCare Complex on Monday afternoon and bee-lined directly to his locker stall as reporters quickly surrounded him.
Then he flashed a huge smile.
Either Agholor is truly happy the Eagles traded for Golden Tate last week or he has an acting career to fall back on when his football days are eventually over.
Of course, it was fair to wonder about Agholor. After all, so much of his success over the last year has come in a similar fashion to Tate’s. But that’s the special thing about Agholor, the special thing about this team. A lot of NFL players preach putting the team over individual stats … this team means it.
It's not actors.
Agholor really is happy about the acquisition of Tate — the Eagles gave up a third-round pick to have Tate for at least the final eight games of this season — for one simple reason: It will make them better.
You’re going to get yours, man. When you win … there’s a saying: ‘When you win, everybody eats.’ That’s the most important thing. We gotta win football games. I’m going to make plays that help him and he’s going to make plays that help me. … That’s what it’s about. You go out and you have 150 [yards] and you lose, it means nothing. Your season over just like this. We’re in it for the long haul.
There is, of course, the question of how all this manifests itself on the field, how the pieces fit together. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh said Tate complements the group of receivers the Eagles already had, but there is some obvious crossover between Tate and Agholor.
And Agholor sees that too. But he also prides himself on being a versatile player. He thinks that’s the key to this receiver group. He pointed out that even Alshon Jeffery, who is a prototypical outside receiver, will line up inside. He mentioned that teams like the Patriots, among others, prioritize versatility.
Agholor thinks he’ll play inside and outside for the rest of the season. And he also thinks Tate’s presence will probably take away some of his touches closer to the line of scrimmage, but might give him more opportunities downfield.
“We want to carry versatile receivers,” Agholor said. “I think that’s the best way to do it. It’s about matchups, it’s about routes, it’s about putting people in different conceptual places. You have concepts and you move your guys around in the concept. … The days of just playing outside is kind of dead. You want to be versatile.”
The 25-year-old Agholor knew there would be a perception that he might be unhappy with the trade to bring in Tate, but he claimed that couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s actually known and respected Tate for some time now. Coming out of high school, Agholor took an official visit to Notre Dame and even spent some time envisioning himself taking a similar role in South Bend to the one Tate once played. He’s admired the 30-year-old Tate ever since.
Agholor’s first thought when he heard about the trade was that the Eagles were “trying to get back to what [they] need to do.” Agholor remembers last year, when they had the formidable trio of Jeffery, Torrey Smith and himself. Opposing defenses had to account for that.
For a team that’s averaging just over 22 points per game this season, getting back to what it did last season, when it scored over 28 points per game, is obviously a good goal.
“We had built a rapport and people had to kind of defend us,” Agholor said. “And now when you bring in a guy like Golden Tate, who’s a very good player in this league, people are going to have to respect us. I think it’s going to be a very positive thing for this group and the team.”
Agholor smiled for nearly the entire 10-minute session with reporters, happy about the move, seemingly unworried about what its impact on his future might be. And afterward, I didn’t feel compelled to hand him an Oscar.
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