The Jets and Philadelphia may meet every preseason, but their link doesn’t end there. A number of former Eagles are now flying with the Jets. Some may not play much, or at all, against the Birds in tonight's preseason finale, but nevertheless they will return to their former stomping grounds at Lincoln Financial Field in an opposing uniform.
Vick had a career renaissance as a member of the Eagles and earned the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year award after backing up Eagles QB Donovan McNabb in 2009. The Eagles gave him a second chance in the NFL, something for which he’s extremely grateful.
“There will always be the sense of gratitude. That’ll never change,” Vick said this week. “Nothing could take away the experiences that I shared with that entire organization and my teammates. I have friends on that team that I have for a lifetime. That means more than anything.”
Vick, who was 20-20 as the quarterback for the Eagles, is getting the start for the Jets. It’s likely more of a ceremonial start, as head coach Rex Ryan said that he doesn’t expect Vick to play for that long.
The Philadelphia fans can be harsh — just ask Santa Claus. And after spending five years with the Eagles, Vick said he’s not too sure how the crowd will receive him.
“I don’t know what’s to come. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to going back to Philadelphia and just enjoying that day and helping the young guys and hopefully watching them go out there and prosper and get better as a unit.”
Vick, coincidentally, has played at one point with all of the following members of this list.
Babin had two stints with the Eagles (2009, 2011-12) and saw great success, recording 26 of his 62.5 career sacks in about 2½ seasons (he was released after 11 games in 2012).
His best season as a pro came while playing for the Eagles in 2011, when he recorded 18 sacks and forced three fumbles. He said he’s eager to head back to Lincoln Financial Field and holds no grudges.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “The situation with me playing there beforehand, it’s a little different now. It’s a whole regime change and not quite the same comparison.”
In the regular season, Babin has played against 30 of the NFL's 32 teams. The Eagles are one of only four teams against which he hasn’t recorded a sack.
When asked how he thinks fans will react to his return, he said he’s sure it will be the same as wherever he goes.
“Fans either love me or hate me. There’s no in-between,” he said. “The ones that love me will love me and the ones that hate me will hate.”
Before joining the Jets midway through 2013, Salas was a member of the Eagles practice squad after spending training camp with the Birds.
He had a nice preseason with Philly last year, catching seven balls for 107 yards and one touchdown, but was unable to beat out the other Eagles wide receivers.
Unlike Vick or Babin, Salas didn’t spend much time in Philadelphia. He’s expected to get a big chunk of minutes in this game as he’s fighting for a roster spot. The offense’s momentum, he said, is his major focus.
“We’re doing a lot of good things,” he said, ”and hopefully we’ll continue to have success against them.”
As for the fans’ response to him, he said his return isn’t as big a deal as some of his teammates.
“I’m not like Mike Vick going back,” he said with a laugh. “I kind of was just a guy that was there and played well and made a few plays in training camp. I’m just looking to go back and do well.”
Jarrett was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Eagles and played for them for two seasons. He recorded 15 tackles as a rookie, but played in only one game in 2012. He also attended Temple University, located in Philadelphia.
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