Eagles

Philly's most lovable athletes

Philly's most lovable athletes

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and taking into consideration the plethora of unique personalities we have right now in the city of Philadelphia, here’s a list of the most lovable current Philadelphia athletes.

Joel Embiid
This guy is a 7-2, 250-pound teddy bear. Unlike many athletes and coaches, Embiid has fun — whether it’s on the free throw line, engaging his adoring home crowd with an arm wave as the “Trust the Process” chants waft down from the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center, or trolling opposing players on social media. 

Embiid reacted as any fan in the stands would to Jake Elliott's hitting a 61-yard field goal. Or as his late night run through the streets of Philadelphia showed, JoJo gets it and he gets us.

Carson Wentz
Much like Embiid, Wentz is a flat-out stud on the field and a genuine person off it. He truly walks the walk. All this cat cares about is faith, football, and hunting. His handling of his season-ending injury and the ensuing encouragement and coaching he gave Nick Foles is a blueprint for every athlete young and old. As tough as it had to be for him, Wentz never made it about himself.    

T.J. McConnell
How can’t you love this little dude? Undrafted, overlooked, given no chance to make an NBA roster out of college, Timothy John not only stuck but has also now become a vital piece of Brett Brown’s rotation. His bromance with Dario Saric is the stuff of buddy flicks. All you needed to know about how McConnell’s teammates feel about him was their reaction after he recorded his first career triple-double against the Knicks. 

Chris Long
Short in his Philly tenure but long (no pun intended) in heart. Long embodies giving back. It’s well-documented that he donated all of his game checks this year to charitable organizations, and he also has his Waterboy Foundation (waterboy.org) which provides clean water for communities in East Africa. Add in the fact that for a part-time player, he made an inordinate amount of huge plays this season for the Eagles, and his choice of wardrobe for the Birds' Super bowl parade was on point. An Allen Iverson throwback jersey under a fake mink coat with shades. Enough said.

Jason Kelce
No list of this sort can be complete without the Eagles' Mummer-loving, speech to end all speeches, pulling center. From sporting Ocean Drive t-shirts to being a fixture in the community, Kelce is Philly through and through, even though he's from Ohio. His parade speech somehow usurped Chase F. Utley’s one-liner on Halloween 2008.

Honorable mention
Doug Pederson, Brandon Graham, Dario Saric, Lane Johnson, Brett Brown, Jalen Mills, Malcolm Jenkins.

Is it believable when Eagles call themselves underdogs?

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Twitter/@RealDGunnNBCS

Is it believable when Eagles call themselves underdogs?

On the latest edition of Eagle Eye, a Philadelphia Eagles podcast, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks share stories from their fishing trip over the weekend. Is it believable when the Eagles keep calling themselves underdogs? How OTAs are different today compared to when Barrett played. Also, Johnny Manziel is playing football again. Will we ever see him back in the NFL?

Also, how Barrett won an Emmy working on Hard Knocks.

1:00 - Gunner and Barrett's weekend fishing trip.
5:00 - Guys caught a hot streak fishing.
6:30 - What is Gunner's family like?
10:30 - Do you believe it when the Eagles use an underdog mindset?
14:30 - Difference between OTA's today compared to when Barrett played.
17:00 - Barrett won an Emmy working on Hard Knocks
21:00 - Guys think the Browns (yes those Browns) will be competitive this season.
25:30 - Johnny Manziel is back in football.

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Zach Ertz is only other player to leave field with Jason Witten's jersey

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USA Today Images

Zach Ertz is only other player to leave field with Jason Witten's jersey

For a long time, Zach Ertz has always said that he’s emulated future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. Ertz loved the way he played and the way he handled himself on and off the field. 

Turns out it’s mutual. 

Because after Ertz went on social media to say goodbye to Witten after the longtime Dallas Cowboy retired recently, Witten returned the favor and praised Ertz. 

That’s pretty crazy. Witten played 15 years, a total of 247 games including the playoffs. And, according to him, the only other person to ever leave the field with his jersey is Ertz. It's become commonplace for players in the league to trade jerseys after games. During an NFL season, a peek into someone's locker will reveal a few jerseys of different colors. Witten's was probably be in demand, but Ertz is the only player to ever get one. 

It’s clear that Ertz gained Witten’s respect and Witten has probably heard the praise from Ertz before. He heard it again when Ertz tweeted earlier in May. 

“First off, I want to say congratulations to someone that had a profound impact on my career, by just being the man he is!” Ertz wrote. “At 17 years old when I was trying to figure out what a tight end meant and what they embodies I started following the tight end for the Cowboys. Everything he did on the field and off, I tried to emulate.” 

Oddly enough, this season Ertz made his first Pro Bowl, but couldn’t go because the Eagles were in the Super Bowl. Guess who took his place? Yup, Witten. 

Earlier this spring, Ertz said it’s strange to think that other tight ends are now growing up and trying to emulate him. He’s just trying to set as good an example as Witten did.