Top 10 nicknames in Philadelphia Eagles history
The other day, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz referred to safety Andrew Sendejo as “Dejo,” which led to a few sportswriters unfortunately singing the Banana Boat Song — Day-o, day-o.
Anyway, it got me thinking about the top nicknames in Eagles history. I don’t think Dejo is ever going to make the cut, but it was fun to put this list together.
Because I made it a top 10 list, I had to leave off some favorites.
Honorable mentions: Jason Peters (the Bodyguard), Donovan McNabb (5), Terrell Owens (T.O.), Marion Campbell (Swamp Fox), Jevon Kearse (the Freak), Sam Bradford (Sammy Sleeves).
Let’s get to the top 10:
10. Pete Retzlaff: Baron
Before Zach Ertz, Retzlaff was known as the best TE in Eagles history, playing from 1956-66. His No. 44 is one of nine retired by the Eagles. I had heard of his nickname as the “Baron,” but didn’t know a ton about it. Ray Didinger, in “The Eagles Encycopedia” explains that the great Tom Brookshier gave Retzlaff the moniker after they went to a shooting range and Retzlaff hit nine of nine bull’s-eyes:
“The blond hair, the rifle, the bull’s-eyes. Brookshier decided Retzlaff looked like a German marksman, a ‘Baron Von Somebody.’ Hence, the Baron.”
(South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame)
9. Jalen Mills: Green Goblin
The only active player on the list, this is likely a short-lived nickname. But ever since Mills arrived as a seventh-round rookie in 2016 and dyed his hair, he’s had it. Now, Mills is entering a contract year, so perhaps we won’t get to enjoy it for too much longer. But it really is a great nickname for the cornerback and it's even his Twitter handle.
8. Freddie Mitchell: FredEx
Despite never becoming a great player, it’s amazing how ingrained Mitchell is in history of the Eagles. He made a couple huge plays and had a personality that way outshined his on-field contributions. Maybe Mitchell didn’t always deliver like his nickname, but it’s one that he’ll be with forever.
7. LeSean McCoy: Shady
This is one of those rare nicknames that was with the player long before he even played high-level college football. LeSean’s mom gave him the nickname Shady and it stuck. Not only is he the greatest running back in Eagles history, his nickname is an all-timer too.
6. Ron Jaworski: Jaws
How many people even call him Ron? It’s gotta be like 1 percent of people, right? Jaws isn’t just a nickname, it’s his name. During his playing days in the 70s and 80s, he was also known as “The Polish Rifle” but Jaws has long outlived that one. So many nicknames just play on a guy’s real name and most of them aren’t worthy; this one is.
5. Nick Foles: BDN
I wasn’t sure where to (or if I should) put this nickname on the list because Foles is a Christian man, future pastor, and there’s no way he likes the NSFW nickname. But how could I leave it off the list? His teammates have used it, cracked jokes about it and fans affectionately referred to him this way and probably always will.
(USA Today Images)
4. Jeremiah Trotter: Axe Man
The middle linebacker, who spent a total of eight seasons during two stints with the Eagles, was known for his chopping celebration. He grew up in Texas chopping firewood and his celebration — and then nickname — was a tip of the cap to his childhood.
3. Brian Dawkins: Weapon X
To be honest, I really like “Idiot Man,” which is what Dawk called his alter-ego, when he’d go crazy. But Weapon X has certainly had more staying power. Weapon X is a name for Marvel’s Wolverine and that character was a perfect representation of the Hall of Famer’s game. His HOF locker even had a Weapon X nameplate and Wolverine figurines.
2. Reggie White: The Minister of Defense
One of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, White was also an ordained minister, hence the nickname. According to his HOF bio, White earned his nickname when he was a senior at Tennessee and even though White has been gone since 2004, the nickname lives on.
1. Chuck Bednarik: Concrete Charlie
The Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players in Eagles history had a great nickname to match. While the nickname certainly matched Bednarik’s tough-nosed playing style, he actually got the nickname because of his offseason career as a concrete salesman. In 1960, Hugh Brown of The Evening Bulletin wrote Bednarik was as tough as the concrete he sold. The best nickname is Eagles history was born.