Trent Cole

Compiling most beloved Eagles team of last 20 years

Compiling most beloved Eagles team of last 20 years

It’s Valentine’s Day, so let’s get a little lovey-dovey with the Eagles. 

Looking back at the last 20 years, I wanted to put together an Eagles team with the most beloved players of the generation. I went back to the 1999 season, the first under Andy Reid for this list. So when you’re frantically searching for Reggie White or Randall, that’s why they’re not there. 

Now, a lot of the time, it’s pretty simple: The best player is the most loved by fans. But that’s not always the case. 

Here’s a look at the team I put together. If you have an addition or subtraction, leave it below: 

QB: Nick Foles 
It’s amazing to think that Foles nearly retired a couple years before he led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win and took home the MVP trophy. But since he did that, he’s going to be a legend in this town forever. Many still think Donovan McNabb is the greatest QB in team history, but he was never universally loved the way Foles is right now. And I expect Carson Wentz to be a great quarterback, but it’s hard to imagine this love affair between city and player ever being duplicated. 

RB: Brian Westbrook 
This was a tough one because LeSean McCoy is the best running back in franchise history, but that’s not what this list is. When we talk about the most-beloved players, Westbrook is atop the list. He had a tremendous career as an undersized back out of Villanova, which only helped fans fall in love with him. 

WR: Alshon Jeffery 
No, Alshon hasn’t been here for long, but he helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl and played all of that season with a torn rotator cuff. He also consistently told everyone they were going to win. It became clear how much fans love him when after Alshon dropped a ball in these last playoffs, many of them rushed to his defense. T.O. is probably the most talented receiver we’ve had in town over the last 20 years, but he was as divisive as he was great. 

WR: Rotating cast of training camp guys 
This is kind of a cop out, but I wasn’t going to go through this list without a nod to the annual love affair with a relatively unknown wide receiver. From Na Brown to Paul Turner to Rasheed Bailey, these guys become huge stories in August, but never really have much of an impact when the games matter. 

TE: Brent Celek 
Zach Ertz is the better player, but everyone loves Celek. He missed just one game in 11 seasons and retired a champion. He sort of embodied that blue collar work ethic we all want from our athletes in this city. 

FB: Leonard Weaver 
Big Weave really only played one season with the Eagles before an ACL injury ended his career, but it was a great year. He was an All-Pro, but more importantly, he immediately connected with fans. Hard to be a fan favorite in one season, but Weaver did that. 

LT: Jason Peters 
This came down to Tra Thomas or Peters, but I gave the nod to JP. Although plenty of fans were frustrated by Peters’ nagging injuries this past season, the period of time when he became The Bodyguard was pretty cool. How many offensive linemen get fans to wear t-shirts with their nicknames? 

LG: Evan Mathis 
Things got contentious between Mathis and the organization at the end of his run, but he was a Pro Bowl left guard and was a really affable guy. For fans on Twitter, Mathis became a must follow for his jokes and wit. 

C: Jason Kelce
Yeah, he happens to be the best center in the NFL, but even if he wasn’t, he’s on this list. We all saw the speech. 

RG: Brandon Brooks 
I thought about giving this spot to Todd Herremans, who played a bunch of different positions, but I have to give the edge to Brooks, who is a part of the Super Bowl team and immediately became accepted in Philly. For those of you on Twitter, you’ll remember when Brooks got to town and slowly learned about Broad Street and Wawa. 

RT: Jon Runyan 
If Runyan played anywhere else, Eagles fans would have probably hated him. And it’s pretty funny he’s in charge of rule enforcement in the NFL because he didn’t have a pristine reputation. But he was a tough dude and played nine seasons with the Eagles and didn’t miss a game. 

DE: Hugh Douglas 
He didn’t have a particularly long career in Philly, but Hugh was jolly and funny and definitely connected with the fanbase. It should come as no surprise that Douglas has been working in sports media since his career ended in 2005. 

DT: Hollis Thomas 
Tank spent 10 seasons with the Eagles and parlayed his popularity into a career with WIP in his post-football days. 

DT: Fletcher Cox
It actually feels like Cox’s popularity hasn’t quite caught up to his level of play. Because he’s an All-Pro, one of the best defensive players in the league and it still feels like he’s not as beloved as other players. But if he keeps playing like this, fans are gonna love him forever. 

DE: Trent Cole
The lasting image of Cole in Philly will be his archery sack celebration that we saw plenty of times during his career with the Eagles. 

LB: Jeremiah Trotter 
The Axe Man! Trotter became a Pro Bowl linebacker, went to Washington for two years and then came back and became a Pro Bowler again. Then after one year in Tampa Bay, he came back for one more season. That’s three different stints with the Eagles and he was a fan favorite for a decade. 

LB: DeMeco Ryans 
Mufasa came in before Andy Reid’s last year and then became a favorite during the Chip Kelly seasons. The Eagles released him after the 2015 season, ending his NFL career, but he was a bright spot on a defense without a ton. 

LB: Connor Barwin 
I’m cheating a little bit because Barwin was an edge rusher in a 3-4 and then played DE in 2016, but he needs to be on this list. Few athletes go to a new town and immediately immerse themselves as quickly as Barwin did. He’s still raising money for parks in the city. 

CB: Troy Vincent 
Vincent came to the Eagles in 1996, but from 1999-2003 he was a Pro Bowler. He was so good for so long. He’s arguably the best free agent pickup in franchise history. 

CB: Sheldon Brown 
Lito Sheppard and Asante Samuel were better players, but Brown was known to get a huge hit here or there. His hit on Reggie Bush will always be remembered. 

S: Malcolm Jenkins 
I didn’t know whether or not to put Jenkins on this list because he was slightly divisive for a while simply because of his anthem protests; some people simply want their football players to play football. But I’m not leaving him off because of that. When we look back at Jenkins in 10 years, he’ll be thought of as one of the greatest players in franchise history and a guy who helped bring a Super Bowl to Philly. 

S: Brian Dawkins 
I don’t think I need to say much here. We get it. 

K: David Akers
Not exactly a ton of competition. Maybe Jake Elliott will eventually overtake him, but he’s got a long way to go. 

LS: Jon Dorenbos
Dorenbos has to be the most beloved long snapper in NFL history. He’s already well on his way to an impressive post-NFL gig and has been wowing again on America’s Got Talent. How many fan bases even know the name of their long snapper? 

P: Donnie Jones 
He’s the best punter in franchise history, but he was also a really likable guy too. Jones never took himself too seriously. 

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Roob's 10 observations: Competition at Eagles training camp, insane QB stats and more

Roob's 10 observations: Competition at Eagles training camp, insane QB stats and more

Dallas Goedert, Andy Harmon, Motorhead, Nate Gerry, a crazy Nick Foles stat, a crazier Carson Wentz stat and obsessing over the "Philly Special."

It's a Wednesday edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles observations just for you! 

1. For a team coming off a Super Bowl championship, the Eagles have done a nice job creating competition in a lot of spots this summer, and training camp has certainly felt more like a competition than any sort of celebration of what happened six months ago in Minneapolis. Three guys who’ve been battling this summer I’m especially looking forward to seeing Thursday night in the preseason opener against the Steelers are Donnel Pumphrey, Gerry and Sidney Jones, who were all 2017 draft picks. Pumphrey literally looks like a different person. But can he carry it over to the games? Gerry is on track to replace Mychal Kendricks at weakside linebacker and has had a good camp, but Kamu Grugier-Hill, while not as stout at the point of attack, looks like a real playmaker. And Jones has done nothing to make me think he’s not going to be a star. Can’t wait to see those guys Thursday night.

2. One thing about Gerry — he’s really fighting history when it comes to late-round linebackers making an impact. The Eagles have had some late-round linebackers start — guys like seventh-round picks Moise Fokou and Jamar Chaney, sixth-round pick Brian Rolle and fifth-round pick Omar Gaither — but none of them were very good. Honestly, the last linebacker the Eagles drafted in the fifth round or later who has been an above average player was Seth Joyner, an eighth-round pick in 1986 and an all-time great. Gerry’s not Joyner, but he’s not Fokou either. 

3. Standing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Friday staring at the "Philly Special" football behind a glass case, I couldn’t stop thinking … “Doug Pederson called a trick play where an undrafted rookie running back flipped the ball to an undrafted backup tight end who threw a pass to the backup quarterback … in the end zone … in a Super Bowl … on fourth down … just before halftime … against Bill Belichick’s defense.” I still don’t know if I’ll ever grasp just how insane that really is. 

4. I’m not sure how this is possible, but no Eagles quarterback has ever thrown 25 or more touchdown passes in consecutive seasons. Among the 53 NFL QBs who have? Brian Sipe, Ken O’Brien and Aaron Brooks.

5. I try not to get too carried away by rookies at training camp, but my goodness, Goedert looks scary good. 

6. This is insane: Wentz in his last nine games last year averaged 248 passing yards, three TDs, 60 percent accuracy and 0.6 interceptions per game. The last Eagles quarterback before Wentz with two consecutive games with 248 yards, three TDs, 60 percent accuracy and one or fewer interceptions? Would you believe Randall Cunningham against the Cards and Broncos in September of 1992? Wentz averaged that over nine games.

7. There are 28 quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only six of them have had more career playoff games with a passer rating of at least 100 than Foles (Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, John Elway, Dan Marino and Steve Young).

8. I’ll be surprised if Corey Clement doesn’t catch 50 passes this year.

9. Here’s another weird one: Trent Cole, a fifth-round pick in 2005, is the only player the Eagles have drafted in the last 25 years with a 10-sack season as an Eagle. Before Cole, you have to go back to 1991 sixth-round pick Harmon. Matter of fact, the last player the Eagles drafted in the first four rounds to record a double-digit sack season was 1987 first-round pick Jerome Brown! That ends now. I’ve got Derek Barnett down for 13½.

10. Hey, how many people think I should choose the music at the Linc during Eagles games? Forget the vapid dance-pop they play now. This is football, not a 12-year-old's bowling party. There's nothing worse than watching the defense run on the field to that "I drove my car into a bridge" song. You really think that's going to intimidate the Redskins? We'll go Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Motorhead, Pantera, Megadeth, Metallica, Uriah Heep and Ozzy. If you agree, contact the Eagles at 1 NovaCare Way, Philadelphia, Pa., 19145.

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Trent Cole, from Eagles great to grain farmer

AP Images

Trent Cole, from Eagles great to grain farmer

Trent Cole played 12 seasons in the NFL. He piled up 90 1/2 career sacks and 85 1/2 with the Eagles, placing him second on the franchise's all-time list behind some guy named Reggie White.

That was nothing.

"I think I work harder now than when I played football," said Cole, who in addition to his outdoors show "Blitz TV" has become a grain farmer in South Jersey. "I can really say that. But it's love. I get up every day, every morning and I have something to look forward to. I'm looking forward to the next day to get up and go to the farm with a cup of coffee and get to work."

Cole's second career has begun now that his first career is over. Cole, 35, officially retired as a member of the Eagles Monday night at the Linc. He also served as an honorary captain before the Christmas night game against the Raiders.

Cole, who played for the Colts the last two years, said he had opportunities to play football again this year. But the time away from the game after the 2016 season, made him ready for his life after football. In addition to his busy schedule with his show and farming, he has a young daughter at home and one more on the way in May.

"It was just that time," Cole said. "A lot of people don't get the chance to do this. Some people do. I'm just very thankful to have the opportunity. Thank Mr. (Jeffery) Lurie and the Eagles' organization for allowing me to come back to go out like this. There's no better feeling than to come out here on Christmas Day and Christmas night and Monday Night Football, with the Eagles having a great season and end my career and start a new one."

When asked how he went from being a fifth-round pick to second on the Eagles' all-time sacks leaderboard, Cole humbly thanked his teammates and the Eagles' front office for surrounding him with other good players.

When asked for a highlight of his career, he eventually said the comeback wins the team earned while he played in Philly, but not before he mentioned that he doesn't have any trophies displayed in his South Jersey home. While Monday night was a chance for him to remember and be remembered, he's more about looking forward.

He's no less passionate about his new careers than he was as a defensive end piling up sacks for a decade with the Eagles. Instead of sacking quarterbacks, he's tackling soybeans, corn, hay and straw on about 1,200 acres that he owns or leases.

"I had that drive," he said. "I had to do my part as a teammate and make sure I left everything out on the field. Everyone knows that I was going to give everything I had. That's just the way I was. I was going to give 110 percent. I refused to lose. I wanted to win. I had that drive, I just can't explain to you. I had that fire.

"And that fire will never go out. I'll never be satisfied. To the day I die, I'll never be satisfied."