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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