Less than two months ago, Richard Rodgers was released by the Washington Football Team and maybe there’s some alternate universe where his NFL career ends there.
Because there he was, a 28-year-old tight end, years removed from his most productive NFL seasons, getting cut by one of the worst franchises in the league.
Maybe if Josh Perkins doesn’t get hurt in training camp or if the Colts don’t claim Noah Togiai, the Eagles never bring back Rodgers for his third stint with the team.
But all that did happen.
Three days after Washington cut him, the Eagles signed Rodgers again. Six weeks later and he stars in a must-win game.
In the Eagles’ 22-21 win over the Giants, Rodgers had a huge performance. Without Zach Ertz (ankle) and Dallas Goedert (ankle), Rodgers was the Eagles’ top tight end and ended up being the Eagles’ leading receiver in a season-saving win.
The guy who wasn’t on the team a couple months ago caught six passes for 85 yards, including two for 41 yards on the game-winning drive. This is just typical 2020 Eagles.
“A guy like Richard, he’s been here before and we’ve had a lot of banked reps over the years and we’ve worked together,” Carson Wentz said.
“He’s a smart football player. He’s been around and he’s been in this league a long time. Any time you play a team like the Giants — a team that plays that style of defense with a lot of zone coverages — Richard is a really smart guy and knows where he needs to be and what timing he needs to be there.”
On the game-winning drive, Wentz went to Rodgers on the first two plays in succession. He hit him on an 11-yard gainer to start the drive and then went right back to him for a 30-yard pickup.
Rodgers gained more yards on each of those catches than he had in his 2018 and 2019 seasons combined.
His 85-yard performance on Thursday was actually the second-biggest game of his career. It was his best performance since 2015 when, with the Packers, he caught a 61-yard Hail Mary to help Green Bay take down Detroit as a part of a 146-yard performance.
That was five seasons ago.
Rodgers best professional season came back in 2015, when he had 58 catches for 510 yards and 8 touchdowns and he hasn’t come close since. And after he had two injury plagued seasons with the Eagles in 2018 and 2019, in which he had one catch for seven yards, it was fair to wonder if his career was just going to fizzle out.
But his third stint with the Eagles has been a resurgence.
“I don't know if it's necessarily for fulfilling but it's just great to be on the field again,” Rodgers said earlier this week. “It's great to play. It's always good to have fun when you're playing the game. You go through the week preparing. I've been preparing for three years now really and I haven't seen the field, so just being able to be out there it's fun to know that your hard work and preparation is starting to pay off.”
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