Wes Hopkins Jersey

It seems like everyone has a favorite Wes Hopkins memory. I covered his entire 10-year career in Philadelphia so, of course, I have memories, too. But my favorite memory is different because Wes wasn’t even there.

I was in the Arizona Cardinals practice facility one day when they were preparing to play the Eagles. Two of their receivers were reading the locker room bulletin board when one of them, Ricky Proehl, let out a loud, “Uh oh.” He pointed to a press release that was just posted. The other receiver, Randal Hill, read it and said, “Oh no.” Proehl muttered something and walked away.

Whatever it was, obviously, was very bad news. I walked over to check it out for myself. It was a note announcing that Wes Hopkins was cleared to play for the Eagles on Sunday. If you were a wide receiver, yes, that was very bad news, indeed.

It takes a lot to make pro football players fearful. It takes a lot to make them say, “Oh no,” when they read your name. Wes Hopkins commanded that kind of respect. Even the toughest receivers worried when they knew they would be going up against No. 48.

Wes was listed at 6-1 and 212 pounds but he looked bigger and played bigger. He was a fierce hitter who roamed the middle of the field tackling ball carriers and making receivers think twice about reaching for a pass. He teamed with Andre Waters to give the Eagles the most intimidating pair of safeties in the NFL.

“When other teams watch film of our defense, I know what they’re saying,” Reggie White once said. “They’re saying, ‘Watch out for number 48.'”

Wes was the Eagles’ second-round draft pick in 1983 and he started 14 games as a rookie. He quickly established himself as one of the game’s best safeties. In 1985, he led the team in tackles (136) and interceptions (6). He was named the Eagles’ Most Valuable Player on defense that year and was a starter in the Pro Bowl.

Herman Edwards Jersey

Former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is joining Arizona State’s football staff, Sun Devils coach Herm Edwards announced Tuesday.

“Marvin Lewis is one of the most respected minds in our game,” Edwards said in a statement. “Whether as the winningest coach in the franchise history of the Cincinnati Bengals, or the architect of one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, Marvin has succeeded everywhere he has been and he has done it the right way. His passion for teaching will be an incredible benefit not only for our coaches, but also for the young men we are responsible for as students and athletes.”

Edwards said Lewis, who was fired in December after coaching the Bengals for 16 seasons, will serve as a special adviser. Lewis will serve as a sounding board for the coaching staff and advise coaches and staff members. He will be a part of game strategy and could become a “face of the program” for speaking engagements down the road.

Lewis will not be permitted to work directly with players, as he is not officially a position coach.

“I’ve known Herman for almost 30 years and the opportunity to come and assist him and his coaches win football games is very exciting and appealing,” Lewis said in a statement. “Arizona State and Tempe have always been special to me.

“I envision just being another set of eyes, another set of ears, and doing anything I can to help the coaches. I was really impressed with the staff and what they accomplished after they hit the ground running last season. ASU is a great university and is known for having an outstanding athletic program that has always been able to attract top athletes from around the country and I look forward to doing all I can to help the program.”

Lewis went 131-122-3 during his 16 years in Cincinnati, setting the franchise record for career wins. He was the franchise’s longest-tenured coach and set the club’s head coaching record for playoff appearances (seven), consecutive playoff appearances (five) and division titles (four). The seven playoff berths under Lewis equaled the number the Bengals had in the 35 seasons before his arrival in 2003.

However, Lewis went 0-7 in the playoffs and was fired following the 2018 season after a 6-10 year, despite a 4-1 start.

Lewis joins ASU’s staff following an impressive 7-6 debut for Edwards that included upset wins over Michigan State and Utah, which were both ranked 15th nationally when the Sun Devils played them.

Brian Westbrook Jersey

SportTechie’s Athletes Voice series features the views and opinions of the athletes who use and are powered by technology. SportTechie talked to retired Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook about his new career at SeventySix Capital, and how he sees technology improving the sport of football.

To be the first to hear each athlete’s insights, subscribe to the Athletes Voice newsletter. And visit the Athletes Voice page to read the whole series.

Brian Westbrook played eight seasons as a running back with the Philadelphia Eagles and one with the San Francisco 49ers. He earned two Pro Bowl selections during his time in Philadelphia, and has the third highest rushing yards in the team’s history (5,995 yards). He was inducted to the Eagles Hall of Fame in 2015.

During his final season with the Eagles in 2009, Westbrook sustained two concussions, one in Week 7, and the other in Week 10. “I thought I took enough time off to rest and recuperate. I thought I was healed completely,” Westbrook said in 2013, according to the Associated Press. “But I got hit, I got my bell rung. I was out for another few weeks with another concussion.”

Though he grew up in Maryland, he spent the majority of his football career in Pennsylvania, first at Villanova and then with the Eagles. After his one year on the West Coast, he returned to Philadelphia to officially retire as an Eagle in 2012. Back in Philadelphia, he’s become part of the Athlete’s Venture Group at SeventySix Capital. Westbrook is interested in exploring technology that could have protected him from sustaining his concussions, and making football a safer and more time-efficient sport.

Wilbert Montgomery Jersey

Tavian Montgomery has played in front of many spectators throughout the course of his young football career, but one in particular seems to stand out.

On most Friday nights during the high school season, tucked away in the rural setting of Ruby Field, sits his father, Wilbert Montgomery.

The elder Montgomery describes himself as “truly a spectator” while watching his son, just like any other parent would, but he’s likely paying attention to more than the average eye.

There’s a good chance Montgomery’s football knowledge trumps more than all of those in attendance — and he’s got the background to prove it.

A 26-year veteran at the professional level as both a player and coach, Montgomery was selected in the sixth round of the 1977 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Abilene Christian University.

He’s a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and an inaugural inductee into the Eagles’ Hall of Fame. Montgomery is the franchise’s second leading rusher with 6,538 yards, according to Pro Football Reference, only behind LeSean McCoy.

He earned All-Pro honors in 1978 and 1979.

“There’s some things that I know he sees that other people can’t see,” Tavian Montgomery said. “He’s been doing it for so long, it just means a lot to me for him to critique me and to tell me to do this or that. It’s helped improve my game. He’s probably my best friend and my biggest critic.”

Wilbert Montgomery transitioned to the coaching ranks following his retirement, beginning his career as a running backs/tight ends coach for the St. Louis Rams from 1997-2005. He then coached for the Detroit Lions (2006-07), Baltimore Ravens (2008-13), and Cleveland Browns (2014-15).

Tavian Montgomery said he was always around his father growing up, and spending time with NFL talent was one of the best experiences of his life. Having mentors such as former Ravens defensive back Lardarius Webb offered valuable lessons on and off the field.

Since transferring to Westminster from Century High School at the beginning of his junior year, Tavian has become one of the Owls’ top weapons.

Listed as a skill player on the roster, Montgomery has been a threat on both sides of the ball. He leads the team with 432 receiving yards and six touchdowns, along with a county-best seven interceptions as a defensive back.

With success on the field has come the opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps and play at the next level. Montgomery said he holds scholarship offers from Bowling Green University, and his father’s alma mater — a true honor in his eyes.

“That was probably the highest point of my football career,” Tavian Montgomery said on receiving an offer from Abilene. “I never even thought about it, but for Abilene to put their trust in me and think of me as possibly the next Wilbert Montgomery was just amazing.”

With a relationship predicated heavily around football, Wilbert Montgomery said he wants more than just success on the athletic field for his children. He strives to be a father and a friend, something he said he seldom had while growing up.

“When we sit in the house … We talk in a respectful way but we always own each other about, ‘You don’t know anything,’ or just that fun type of energy,” Wilbert Montgomery said. “I think it’s very important because I didn’t have that when I was a young man growing up … so I kind of lost that relationship, that closeness.

Tavian Montgomery said he understands he’s attached to his father’s accomplishments. Being in close proximity from Philadelphia, it’s almost unavoidable. Die-hard Eagles fans admire his father, but the younger Montgomery doesn’t consider it a negative.

Tommy McDonald Jersey

Tommy McDonald, the undersized but speedy and durable Hall of Fame wide receiver who helped propel the Philadelphia Eagles to the 1960 N.F.L. championship, died on Monday in Audubon, Pa. He was 84.

His death was confirmed by his son Christopher, who said he was found to have dementia several years ago.

At 5 feet 9 inches and 175 pounds, McDonald was a star running back in high school, but doubted he was big enough to play major college football. He nonetheless became an all-American with an unbeaten national-champion Oklahoma team, and then he wondered if he could vie with burly pro players.

But McDonald played for 12 years in the National Football League, and when he retired after the 1968 season, his 84 touchdown receptions were the second-highest in league history, behind the Green Bay Packers’ Don Hutson, who had 99.

McDonald was famously tough. Early in his career he was one of the last N.F.L. players to refuse to wear a face mask, fearing it would obstruct his vision, and he missed only three games to injury in his first 11 seasons. He caught three touchdown passes and ran a punt back 81 yards for a score against the Giants in October 1959 while playing with his jaw wired shut a week after he had broken it.

He also had relatively small hands and had lost the tip of his left thumb in a motorbike accident as a teenager. But he had a knack for holding on to the football, and he honed the sensitivity of his fingernails by rubbing them on something rough and biting the nails to get the blood flowing.

McDonald was voted to six Pro Bowls, five times as an Eagle and once with the Los Angeles Rams. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

With the Eagles trailing the favored Green Bay by 6-0 midway through the first quarter, McDonald caught a 22-yard pass from quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, then hauled in a 35-yard touchdown throw on the next play. The Eagles went on to a 17-13 victory, capturing their first league championship in 11 years.

Van Brocklin, who had been a brilliant passer with the Los Angeles Rams and was closing out his Hall of Fame career as an Eagle, tutored McDonald and his fellow receivers in the art of running pass patterns.

“We would go over all the moves: outs, corners, posts, hooks, pitchouts, centers, crosses, everything,” McDonald said in a 1964 article for Sports Illustrated, written with Tex Maule. “When we made mistakes, Van would run the patterns himself.”

Van Brocklin had thrown to star receivers like Tom Fears and Elroy Hirsch with the Rams. “But if I had to pick one guy to throw the ball to with the game on the line, I’d pick McDonald,” he was quoted as saying by Ray Didinger in “The Eagles Encyclopedia” (2005). “I knew somehow the little bugger would get open and catch the football.”

McDonald led the N.F.L. in touchdown catches, with 13, and in receiving yards, with 1,144, in 1961, when Sonny Jurgensen took over as quarterback following Van Brocklin’s retirement.

The Eagles traded McDonald to the Dallas Cowboys in 1964 for a kicker and two undistinguished linemen. But he had a lot of football left in him.

Brian Dawkins Jersey

Getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is obviously the highest personal accomplishment an NFL player can have. Unfortunately, it takes a bit of a collaborative effort to make the best case possible. Typically, quarterbacks are better suited for the Hall of Fame when they have at least a Super Bowl under their belt. If not, it becomes more challenging to be considered.

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is finding that out first hand. Since being retired in 2011, McNabb has been hopeful that eventually, he will find himself getting into the Hall of Fame. Eight years later, and McNabb still hasn’t made his way to Canton just yet. Unlike his former teammates Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens who made it last year.

There’s no doubt that McNabb is arguably the best quarterback in Eagles franchise history (sorry, Nick Foles). McNabb has found himself honored from time to time in Philly as he’s made the Eagles Hall of Fame. Plus, No. 5 is forever off limits in midnight green as McNabb’s accomplishments led to it being retired permanently. Despite the smaller achievements though, is McNabb accomplished enough to make it into Canton? Well, he believes so.

Recently, McNabb joined the guys over at TMZ Sports to make his case for Canton. When asked if he believes he’s a Hall of Fame player or not, McNabb confidently responded with “absolutely.” Then, he proceeded to make the argument by dropping some analytical facts. “My numbers are better than Troy Aikman’s,” McNabb stated when trying to back up his case.

Although McNabb is correct, Aikman has something that McNabb doesn’t — the almighty Super Bowl ring. After appearing and playing in five NFC Championship games over the course of his career, McNabb only managed to get to the big game once. Unfortunately, he was a big reason why the Eagles struggled to bring home the Lombardi during the 2004-2005 season.

Harold Carmichael Jersey

Harold Carmichael is one of the greatest wide receivers in Philadelphia Eagles history and is the model of consistency at the wide receiver position. When Carmichael’s NFL career ended, he was fifth all-time in catches, seventh all-time in yards, and tied for sixth in touchdowns.

Certainly Hall of Fame worthy numbers, but Carmichael wasn’t even considered for Canton. Carmichael was never a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame as receivers faced a tough entrance to Canton at the time (they still do to an extent).

Lynn Swann, who had considerably fewer catches (336), yards (5,462) and touchdowns (51) than Carmichael, was the only wide receiver on the ballot in the early 1990s and Carmichael was passed over when Charlie Joiner, Steve Largent, and John Stallworth entered the ballot in the mid-1990s.

Carmichael was overlooked then and he’s overlooked now. He deserves a second look at the Hall of Fame.

Carmichael owns any major receiving record in Eagles franchise history. Quite the impressive feat since he hasn’t put on an Eagles uniform in 35 years.

That’s how good Carmichael was in his 13 players playing for the Eagles. Carmichael is the Eagles all-time leader in receptions (589), receiving yards (8,978), and touchdowns (75). He also caught a pass in 127 consecutive games from 1972 to 1982, which was a NFL record until Steve Largent broke it in 1986.

A seventh-round selection (161st overall) in the 1971 NFL Draft, it took two years for Carmichael to get his career on track in the NFL (40 catches, 564 yards, two touchdowns).

By that third season (1973), Carmichael started his run as one of the dominant receivers in the NFL. Carmichael led the league in catches (67), yards (1,116) to go with nine touchdowns and a 16.7 yards per catch average.He earned the first of his four Pro Bowl selections in 1973.

The double-team started coming to Carmichael, who was the best player on some poor Eagles teams in the mid-1970s. Carmichael also didn’t have a consistent quarterback during that stretch, as Roman Gabriel and Mike Boryla rotated in-and-out at the position.

The results hurt Carmichael, who had just 193 catches for 2,456 yards, but an impressive 29 touchdowns.

Once the Eagles traded for Ron Jaworski prior to the 1977 season, Carmichael became elite once again. Jaworski found Carmichael for 34 touchdowns between 1978 to 1981, a stretch that saw the Eagles go 42-22 with four playoff appearances, an NFC East title (1980) and the 1980 NFC Championship.

Carmichael had 55 catches for 1,072 yards (19.5 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns in 1978, earning the first of three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. In 1979, Carmichael had 872 yards and 11 touchdowns, which was followed by 815 yards and nine touchdowns in 1980.

Carmichael had his third and final 1,000-yard season in 1981, finishing with 61 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns.

Once the NFL players went on strike during the 1982 season, Carmichael’s play declined…along with the Eagles. He had just 72 catches for 1,055 yards and seven touchdowns over the next two seasons before leaving Philadelphia at the age of 34.

Carmichael spent one final season with the Dallas Cowboys in 1984, catching just one pass for seven yards in two games.

Carmichael is 28th all-time in receiving touchdowns to go with his two All-Pro selections. He also was member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1970s team (second team) and the 1980 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.

There are only 19 wide receivers (including flankers) in the Hall of Fame and the list is exclusive. Only four wide receivers were in the Hall when Carmichael retired and five when he was up for induction in 1989.

Carmichael has more receiving yards than Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, but the pair are in the Hall of Fame for the four Super Bowls they won with the Pittsburgh Steelers that improved their candidacy.

Randall Cunningham Jersey

When Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton turned 30 years several weeks ago, his milestone birthday was met with the re-emergence of an evergreen topic of the past several years: If, and when, he is going to change the way that he plays football.

Though some insinuations that Newton should change how he plays quarterback have been born out of long-standing derision towards his style, plenty of others in recent years have come to suggest that he should alter his approach and take less hits out of concern for his future: Particularly after he has suffered two shoulder injuries in the past three seasons. But while some may suggest that Newton should run the ball less on the north side of 30, two former NFL quarterbacks believe that the former MVP of the league shouldn’t change what has made him one of the most unique talents professional football has ever seen.

Speaking on WFNZ’s Wilson & Parcell, former NFL quarterback turned ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky made his case for why Cam Newton should not change, stating that he has been playing the game of football his way for his entire life up to this point in his career.

“He has played as this incredibly dynamic athlete and weapon, one that we really hadn’t seen much of in any shape at that position in the NFL,” said Orlovsky. “So to say ‘Hey Cam, you’re 30, you’ve got to change the way you play,’ it’s not gonna happen. Nor should it. … To tell Cam ‘We’ve got to change the way you play’, it’s convenient and I get it that it makes sense, but you’re also lessening him as a player then. You’re taking away something that makes Cam Newton completely different and completely more special than other guys.

“The reality of it is, Cam Newton’s gonna take more hits than other guys. … The hits are going to add up, and that’s just the reality of his style of play. Is it gonna shorten his career? Probably, yeah. But you also get to have the special player that he is for X amount of time.”

Philadelphia Eagles great Randall Cunningham, meanwhile, is well familiar with the sort of whispers Newton now faces: Cunningham had been as dangerous a threat to take off and run as any quarterback who has ever played the game, but gradually became more of a pocket passer as his career progressed. Still, Cunningham told Joe Person of The Athletic that he doesn’t believe Newton should change who he is.

Ron Jaworski Jersey

WAIKOLOA, Hawaii — Special guest speaker Ron Jaworski said doctors must set their staff up for success, one of the lessons he learned from the head coaches he played for in the National Football League during his 17-year career.

He learned commitment to the job and to excellence while playing in the NFL.

“I learned so much from coaches in the NFL because I understood that culture, that environment of winning,” Jaworski said here at Hawaiian Eye 2019.

The average NFL career is 3.1 years and Jaworski, also known as “Jaws,” played for 17 years.

As he remarked on his storied football career, he said Dick Vermeil, who was head coach at the Philadelphia Eagles, taught him hard work and discipline.

He developed “the discipline to believe in the leadership that they will set you up for success,” he said.

As a player he did not agree with every play that came from his coaches but had to trust and believe in their leadership.

“You have to have discipline,” Jaworski added.

When he then went from Philadelphia to Miami, it was for one reason: Head coach Don Shula.

“His culture, his environment was so simple, it was about teamwork,” Jaworski said. “It wasn’t about Dan Marino, it was about the team, everything Shula preached was about the team.”

In Kansas City with coach Marty Schottenheimer, the mood was different.

“He was calm and low key, he didn’t get fired up,” he said. “When he spoke, you had to pay attention.”

Jason Kelce Jersey

Jason Kelce isn’t under appreciated on the Philadelphia Eagles or in the city of Philadelphia. The NFL doesn’t under appreciate Kelce as he was voted as an All-Pro center over the last two seasons, but the league still believes he is more valuable then he’s worth.

“Kelce had the highest win-contribution metric for any center in the NFL last season,” per NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund. “My favorite stat on him: No center kept opposing defenders at least five feet from his quarterback on passing downs more than Kelce last season (24.1 percent; next closest was 18.8 percent). Measuring O-line play this way helps quantify “stopping pressure” or “clean pockets” and it shows Kelce set the standard for elite at his position last season.”

There’s no denying Kelce was dominant in 2018, showcasing his value on the Eagles offensive line every snap.

Kelce is coming off one of his best seasons in the NFL, earning a second consecutive All-Pro selection. Graded as the No. 1 center in football, Kelce earned his second consecutive All-Pro selection. Kelce finished No. 2 amongst centers in pass protection and the top ranked run blocker in the league. Kelce graded as the No. 1 center in football by PFF and has allowed just 10 pressures on the season.

In 1,037 snaps, Kelce finished with a grade of 87.7, allowing just two hits and eight hurries. He had just six penalties on the season.

Kelce had his best season in pass protection in his eight-year career. The 10 pressures he allowed were the lowest in a 16-game season, 12 fewer than the 22 he allowed in 2017 when he was PFF’s highest-graded center ever (PFF started calculating grades in 2006).

Kelce earned an All-Pro selection in 2017 after a dominant season, establishing himself as one of the best centers in the game. Kelce was the highest-graded run blocker in the history of Pro Football Focus, along with only giving up two sacks on the season (in 1,208 snaps).

The Eagles center finished with a run-blocking grade of 95.1, beating Nick Mangold’s 2008 record of 95.0. While Kelce did allow 22 pressures in 19 games, he still led all centers with a PFF grade of 91.3.

In 2016, Kelce played every single offensive snap for the Eagles…showcasing his durability on one of the most grueling positions in football. Kelce hasn’t missed a game since 2014, playing all 16 games in five of the last six seasons.

The amount of snaps have taken a toll on Kelce, which is why he will be contemplating retirement every season.

“At this point in my career it’s always harder and harder to play the game,” Kelce said. “And I know it’s only going to continue to get harder and harder to play the game, physically that is. I think at the end of every season you just weigh that. You kind of recover to a good place in your head, a good place physically, and you look back on the season, try to take a realistic look as possible. And moving forward, decide whether you think you can do that again.”

The Eagles are fortunate to have Kelce on their offensive line. They should enjoy the ride as long as they can make it last.