From unknown to hero, it’s been a crazy week for Eagles' Treyvon Hester

From unknown to hero, it’s been a crazy week for Eagles' Treyvon Hester

Treyvon Hester had become a hero in the City of Philadelphia. 

He just didn’t know it yet. 

After the defensive tackle sliced through the line to get his left fingertips on Cody Parkey’s game-winning field goal attempt on Sunday afternoon, Hester watched as the ball corrected itself in the air. Just as it hit the left upright, he turned around and threw his hands down in anguish, thinking the Eagles lost the game. 

Hester thought the Eagles’ season was over because he didn’t do enough. 

He didn’t know the ball double-doinked and missed until he heard the crowd’s reaction and saw his teammates running on the field victorious after the 16-15 score was final. 

“I didn’t even see it bounce off because I was so frustrated,” Hester said Thursday. “I thought I didn’t get enough.” 

It’s been a crazy week for the 26-year-old defensive tackle. He came into last weekend as a relatively unknown and anonymous rotational player, but has now become an instant hero for making the game-winning play to keep the Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes alive. 

The field goal block didn’t become official until Monday afternoon, when the NFL changed it in the scorebook. He was pretty happy about it. 

“Definitely,” Hester said. “I like to get that recognition. Second-year guy that’s trying to make a name for myself.”

It was the first field goal block in Eagles’ postseason history. It was the first field goal block of Hester’s career. 

Hester is from Pittsburgh and went to college at Toledo. From there, he was drafted by the Raiders in the seventh-round and he played in 14 games for them last season before getting cut this September. The Eagles added him to their practice squad a few days later and added him to their active roster on Oct. 2. He was the unlikeliest of heroes, except to his teammates who have been watching him work throughout his months in Philly. 

He’s a quiet guy, but he's confident. He has an infectious smile. Truth be told, he’s not exactly used to all this attention, but is trying to enjoy it. He’s gotten phone calls and texts from a bunch of family members and friends. His social media accounts have been “blowing up.” 

In the aftermath of the double-doink, most of the attention was around Parkey, who missed the kick, instead of Hester, who blocked it. So when Eagles fans began to put money in Parkey’s Venmo account, Chris Long told them to Venmo Treyvon Hester instead. 

All of Hester’s teammates on the defensive line seem genuinely thrilled he’s now getting his due: 

Chris Long: “Really excited for him. He’s been a great addition for us. He’s a really good kid. He just shows up and goes to work. I’m just happy for him. It couldn’t happen to a better guy and that’s a really key play.” 

Fletcher Cox: “Ah man, it’s great for Treyvon. He’s one of those … he’s a young guy that I help a lot. Just try to elevate his game, just try to teach him the right way. Just try to tell him, ‘man, your chance is coming to make a play.’ And it came down to the last play of the game. I always talk about it week in and week out, we need every guy that’s dressing, we need every guy in the locker room. His number was called on Sunday and it happened.”

Tim Jernigan: “Man, I’m happy for him. Just going through some of the stuff he done been through and being able to come on this team and make an impact, it’s a blessing. It’s a good thing for him that it’s happened.”

Michael Bennett: “Get the credit? He earned that credit. I don’t think he got the credit. I think he earned the credit by being in the right position and putting his hand up when he was supposed to. I think field goal block, special teams are the players who are always overlooked and they don’t get any credit for the things that they do. I think whenever they make a great play, I think they deserve the credit, they earn it. I think Treyvon did a great job. And it’s one of the hardest jobs to do, to keep running into somebody and know that the play doesn’t really count sometimes and finally when it’s your opportunity to make the play, he did. So obviously, he deserves the credit he got.”

As for Hester, he’s mostly trying to put the big play behind him aside from a couple photos. He has a shot of his fingers blocking the kick. One copy will go in his man cave. The other is heading to his mother. 

“Oh man,” Hester said, “it’s definitely a big confidence-booster.”

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More on the Eagles

Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: Devin Bush

Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: Devin Bush

If there was any question whether Devin Bush was an elite inside linebacker prospect before the combine, he answered it with a 4.43 in Indianapolis. That was faster than all but one running back.

Bush, a Michigan junior, was a two-year starter for Jim Harbaugh, recording 19 tackles for loss and 10 sacks the last two years. He’s a little small at 5-11, 234, but in the current NFL, his skill as a pass defender should make him an immediate starter.

Bush is a sideline-to-sideline type of player who doesn’t take snaps off and can play on all three downs. The NFL is certainly in Bush’s genes. His dad, also Devin Bush, was a Falcons first-round pick and spent 1995 through 2002 with the Falcons, Rams and Browns.

Current roster at ILB: With Jordan Hicks gone, the Eagles are thin overall at linebacker and in particular on the inside, and although Nigel Bradham can play there, the Eagles may prefer to keep him outside, especially if they land an inside backer in the draft. Paul Worrilow has started 52 games on the inside but is coming off a serious injury and hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2015.

How he would fit: Bush would instantly become the Eagles’ starting middle linebacker, with Bradham outside and Kamu Gruger-Hill presumably back to his role as the third 'backer and special teamer.

Eagles history at LB in draft: There really isn’t much Eagles history at LB in the draft. It’s been 40 years since the Eagles took a linebacker in the first round — Jerry Robinson at No. 21 in 1979 — and it’s been nearly half a century since they took one in the first 20 picks — that was Steve Zabel at No. 6 in 1970. They are the only NFL team that hasn’t taken a linebacker in the first round since 1980. The Eagles have actually taken only one LB in the first two rounds the last decade — Mychal Kendricks in 2012.

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Other options at 25 

Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: Jerry Tillery

Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: Jerry Tillery

Jerry Tillery arrived at Notre Dame as an offensive lineman, and with his quickness and athleticism he probably would have been a pretty good one. But he moved to defense as a freshman, and the move certainly paid off.

Tillery had some issues early in his career. He was suspended for the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State as a freshman for violating team rules and in a game against USC as a sophomore got into trouble for stepping on a player’s leg and kicking another player while he was on the ground. But he grew into a leader and one of the most dominating interior linemen in the country.

Tillery blossomed as a junior with nine tackles for loss and 4 ½ sacks and earned All-America status this past year with 10 ½ TFLs and eight sacks. At 6-6, 295, Tillery is a force against the run but also a ferocious pass rusher. Tillery is still raw and prone to occasional technique breakdowns, but his upside is off the charts.

Current roster at DT: The Eagles desperately need help at defensive tackle behind projected starters Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson. With Haloti Ngata retired, the only other interior linemen on the roster are former practice squadders like Treyvon Hester and Bruce Hector. 

How he would fit: He’d play immediately. The combination of Hester, Hector, Ngata and Detiny Vaeao played more than 800 combined snaps on defense last year, so if ideally Cox and Jackson play about 75 percent of the snaps, that leaves about 35 snaps per game for the third defensive tackle. Perfect for a rookie.

Eagles history at DT in draft: The Eagles have taken four defensive tackles in the first round since 2000 – Corey Simon, Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley and Cox. All but Patterson were among the first 14 picks. Only the Rams and Jaguars have also taken four tackles since 2000. Before that there was Leonard Renfro in 1993 and Jerome Brown in 1987.

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Other options at 25