Why Eagles teammates are so happy for Slay in Super Bowl


PHOENIX — When the Eagles traded for Darius Slay in March of 2020, his college teammate from Mississippi State and Eagles mainstay Fletcher Cox called Slay and asked him one simple question.

“Are you ready to win?”

Because winning is something Slay hadn’t done a ton of during his seven years in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. And Cox had already made it to the top of the mountain just a few years before.

Now both of them have a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy with one more win in Super Bowl LVII.

“Obviously, it took a couple years to get there to where we are now,” Cox said at the Eagles’ Super Bowl hotel on Tuesday. “But you gotta appreciate Slay. He’s been one of the best at his position for a long time and it means a lot to me, it means a lot to him and all his other teammates. Just so proud of him.”

Slay, 32, is trying to soak this whole experience in as much as possible. When asked if he once worried he’d never make it to a Super Bowl, Slay said he didn’t want to put it like that.

See, he really loved his time in Detroit. He loved the people, his teammates and (most of) his coaches. That’s why he’s happy for the city that the arrow seems to be pointing up for the Lions.

But in Slay’s seven years in Detroit, the Lions made the playoffs just twice — in 2014 and 2016 — and were bounced from the wild card round both times. The Lions had a 52-59-1 record in those seven seasons.


And Slay didn’t even win a division title until this year with the Eagles.

“I always went out there and competed my hardest, tried to get that team a championship,” Slay said on Tuesday. “There’s always a saying that it’s the same old Detroit. I wanted to change that saying. I see over there right now they’re doing a great job. They’re trying to change that, being a great team. I was trying to change that as well.”

Slay has now made the playoffs as many times in three years with the Eagles as he did in seven years with the Lions. And in Year 10 in the NFL, there’s a very real possibility this could be the last chance Slay gets to become a Super Bowl champion.

The players from the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship team understand that.

“It’s a big opportunity,” said Super Bowl LII star Brandon Graham. “[Slay] knows just like I know there’s no guarantees on when you’re going to be back. You just better make sure you maximize every opportunity. And there’s an opportunity for him right now. And it don’t come often. I know he’s going to give his best shot this week.”

It’s certainly not like the Eagles are dragging Slay along for the ride. He made his second consecutive Pro Bowl this season and the fifth of his career. And Slay was also named to the inaugural NFLPA Players-Only All-Pro team, showing how well-respected he is among his peers.

“It’s hard to get to the Super Bowl, it’s hard to get to the playoffs, it’s hard to win in the NFL,” fellow cornerback James Bradberry said. “He’s been playing, it’s his 10th year. He’s, to me, a Hall of Fame player up until this point. And a guy like that deserves to play for a Super Bowl. Being his 10th year, I see how hard it is to get here. That’s why he probably enjoys it and cherishes it so much.”

Slay is definitely having fun.

The ever-loquacious Slay has been of the media darlings of this year’s Super Bowl week and that’s not a surprise. Slay is the guy who is constantly having fun on the field and in the building. He wasn’t going to change that all of a sudden now that he’s in the playoffs.

Just don’t let Slay’s fun-loving personality fool you. He’s serious about his craft and he’s not taking this opportunity for granted.

As silly as Slay can be, his teammates respected him enough to vote him as one of their team captains before the season. The moment when Slay found out, he was almost moved to tears.


“It’s been great. I think the C on my chest is good luck, man,” Slay said. “Since I got the C on my chest, I got to the playoffs, got out of the first round of the playoffs and even to the Super Bowl. The C is good luck for me. I’m loving it right now.”

The fact that the Eagles voted for him to be one of their captains shows how much they like and respect him. And it’s why so many of his teammates are excited for Big Play Slay to finally take the biggest stage the NFL has to offer.

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