The first time I signed with the Eagles, they picked me.
I was just a 23-year-old kid out of Austin, Texas, a mid-round draft prospect.
It’s funny, because, leading up to the draft in 2012 — Philly was the team that had shown me the most attention by a mile. And after meeting with Andy, Doug, Howie, and everyone else……. I really wanted to play for them. But I honestly figured it was more like a smoke screen or something. I didn’t actually think they would draft me.
Sure enough, though, when draft day came, they called: third round, 88th overall. My phone started vibrating, and I’ll never forget it — looking down, and seeing that Pennsylvania number.
“Nick, this is Andy Reid.” I was on a flight that next morning.
The second time I signed with the Eagles, I picked them.
I was a 28-year-old free agent, and I had a few good options. Some interesting offers. But the truth is, once they showed interest….. it was always going to be Philly.
The reason that I signed ultimately wasn’t a football one.
It was that Tori and I were expecting our first child — our daughter, Lily. And as much as I admire the Eagles as a franchise….. I love Philadelphia as a city.
I realized that this was much more than an X’s-and-O’s decision. It was a decision about what city our daughter was going to spend her first years in, and have her first memories in, and call her hometown.
And there’s just something about it….. but my heart said Philly.
I’m pretty sure a piece of it always will.
Before I move on to this next chapter of my career, I want to say thank you to some of the people who have helped to make this last chapter so special.
I want to thank Andy Reid and everyone else who played a role in drafting and developing me in the first place, way back when.
I want to thank the entire Eagles organization — and when I say entire, I mean it sincerely. From Mr. Lurie, to Howie Roseman, to Coach Pederson, and everyone else who was so instrumental in bringing me back for a second run, and making it successful..…. but also to our trainers; our video crew; our equipment staff; our strength staff; Dom, our head of security; our janitors; our media relations team; our massage therapists; our chefs; our sports-science crew..…. I’m talking anyone and everyone who made it so special, on a daily basis, to head into work and put on the midnight green. (I even want to thank Chip Kelly for trading me in 2015. Without that challenge in my life, I wouldn’t be the player I am today.)
I want to thank my teammates. It’s been a joy to play this game with each and every one of you — and there is nothing that compares to gameday with y’all. The sideline, the huddle, the locker room.….. all of it. I will cherish those moments.
And then last but not least, I want to thank the city of Philadelphia, and Eagles fans everywhere.
Because for as much of an honor as it’s been to play for this team and this city…… the truest privilege has been over the last year, in the time since we won the Super Bowl — having Eagles fans share their stories with me. Having them remind me of how we didn’t just win the Super Bowl; we won the Eagles’ first Super Bowl ever. Getting to hear from Philly natives about how their father, or father’s father, or mother, or mother’s mother, cried tears of happiness after the game. Learning about how, for most people, rooting for the Eagles is more than a decision — it’s a birthright.
Philadelphia, thank you for welcoming me into yours.
You will forever be a part of mine.