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.

It took 1 game to show Golden Tate trade was a bad idea

USA Today Images

It took 1 game to show Golden Tate trade was a bad idea

It took all of one game, but the Eagles’ trade for Golden Tate was officially a bad idea.

That’s no fault of Tate, even though his Eagles debut was a dud. Two receptions on four targets for 19 yards in 18 snaps, and two punt returns for 11 yards was hardly the impact you would hope for the price. That said, it was his first game in a new scheme, with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson pointing to the offense’s use of tempo as a reason for the light workload.

The issue isn’t so much Tate as it is the Eagles foolishly believing they were still contenders in 2018 — when all it took was one putrid loss to the Cowboys to show that was never the case.

The Eagles’ season isn’t technically over, but their playoff hopes are certainly circling the drain. They’re already two games back of Washington for first place in the NFC East, and if they don’t beat an 8-1 Saints squad in New Orleans on Sunday, their record drops to 4-6.

If one game is all it took for the outlook to change so dramatically, what business did the Eagles have going out and getting Tate?

Does that sound like a team that should’ve traded a third-round draft pick for a 30-year-old wide receiver in the final year of his contract? When there were bigger needs at running back, defensive back, defensive tackle and along the offensive line? While the injuries continued to mount?

Tate isn’t the type of transcendent weapon that commands constant double teams or presents matchup problems for the defense, either. He’s a 5-foot-10 receiver who averaged 10.7 yards per catch over the last four seasons, with three red-zone touchdowns since 2016.

He doesn’t hold the answers the Eagles were searching for.

“I’ve been here for a week,” Tate said postgame. “I still have to get a feel for things. Just got to make a few more plays. We made some really good plays tonight, but just not enough.”

Again, the discussion about the Eagles getting a compensatory draft pick in 2020 if Tate departs this coming offseason is overblown. Whether they get a pick at all depends on how active the Eagles are in free agency themselves, and even then, the fourth-round-or-later selection in return will be a steep drop from a potential top-10 pick in the third — which could be a difference of 50 spots, minimum.

Was it worth it?

There’s something to be said for aggressiveness. Then there’s throwing caution to the wind.

The trade was made with a blind eye to the mini-rebuild approaching this offseason, with key free agents, aging players and potential cap casualties at running back, wideout, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and cornerback. Not to mention, it ignored the Eagles’ place in the standings and the realities that put the team there.

Now all of a sudden, the Eagles face long odds to reach the playoffs. But at least the Eagles have seven more weeks of Tate to look forward to.

“I’m sure he will get more and more involved as we go,” said Pederson.

Well, that’s a relief.

Roob Knows Podcast: The Eagles stink

USA Today Images

Roob Knows Podcast: The Eagles stink

On this edition of Roob Knows, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro react to Sunday night's embarassing loss to the Cowboys.

Why much of the blame should be placed on Doug Pederson. Did we not make enough of the loss of Frank Reich?

No excuse for Golden Tate not playing more snaps. Also, the media needs to stop criticizing Eagles' fans for booing. They had every right to.

1:00 — The Eagles stink.
4:00 — Doug Pederson deserves the brunt of the blame.
8:00 — How much is Frank Reich missed?
11:00 — Eagles continue to get decimated in the secondary.
17:00 — Do the Eagles have a shot in New Orleans?
20:30 — Inexcusable that Golden Tate didn't play more.
23:30 — Roob's best stats from the game.
26:00 — Media needs to stop criticizing fans for booing.

Subscribe and rate the Roob Knows podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19