Why Gowan, return in Ertz trade, thought he was destined to be an Eagle


Most rookies would be shocked to get traded midway through their first NFL season. They’d probably be upset about it too.

Not Tay Gowan.

Because when the Eagles got him as part of the return in the Zach Ertz trade last week, the 23-year-old cornerback was actually happy about it.

This is where he thinks he belongs.

“I talked to the Eagles pre-draft and before the draft I already had all my Eagles stuff ready to go and I was set to come play for the Philadelphia Eagles,” Gowan said on Friday. “And then the Cardinals took me a pick before the Eagles.”

The Cardinals took Gowan in the sixth round with the 223rd pick. The Eagles took JaCoby Stevens out of LSU next. While the Eagles obviously had some interest in Gowan, they did pass him up twice earlier in the round, taking Marlon Tuipulotu and Tarron Jackson.

But the Eagles clearly wanted Gowan. And Gowan clearly wanted the Eagles.

In fact, Gowan said he was in contact with Darius Slay during the pre-draft process. Gowan is a fan of Slay’s and told the veteran corner to be ready for him to get drafted to Philadelphia. Over the last week, the two have finally enjoyed being teammates.

“It’s been a blessing,” Gowan said. “Because I was talking to him pre-draft, letting him know I’m coming to the Eagles so I need to you help me out, be my big bro in my corner. Even having that relationship coming out, that all worked out.”


Gowan listed Slay among the corners he likes to watch, along with Jalen Ramsey and old YouTube practice tape of Darrelle Revis.

When asked to describe himself as a player, Gowan said he’s long and athletic, he can run with anybody and he goes by the name Gowan Island.

“So I just want to bring that to Philly,” he said.

Gowan began his career at Miami (Ohio) before heading to a JUCO program. But in 2019, he was a star at UCF with 31 tackles, 2 interceptions and 10 PBU. But Gowan opted out in 2020 after the premature birth of his daughter. She weighed just 2 pounds.

“At the time I didn’t know about COVID, I didn’t know about the COVID shot and how we was going to handle it,” he said. “So as a father, I took action and just sat out. I know that kind of hurt my draft stock and stuff, but I’m here now.”

Gowan stands by his decision to opt out last year and was happy to say his daughter celebrated her 1-year birthday in July.

Draft analysts were split on Gowan. Some thought he would be a late-round pick, some thought he’d go undrafted, heck, ProFootballFocus listed him as a top 70 player overall.

In Arizona, Gowan made the active roster but was buried on the depth chart. At least he got to spend some time covering receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green in practice, something he thinks made him a much better player.

But now he’s an Eagle. And he thinks this feels right.

“Everybody has been showing me a lot of love and helping me out any way they can,” Gowan said. “It’s just been a blessing being here.”

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