I had a feeling I was going to be an Eagle.
At least, I knew I wanted to be one.
Throughout the whole draft process, Philadelphia was high on my list. I had a lot of good predraft workouts, but the one in Philly I thought was one of my best. And I really liked everybody that I met. The whole vibe was good, you know?
So on Day 2 of the draft, when my phone rang and it was Howie Roseman saying, “Congratulations, you’re gonna be an Eagle!” … man, it’s tough to even describe. I didn’t know what to say. I was just like, “Uhhh … thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Then Coach Pederson got on the phone, then Duce, and I couldn’t even hear them because I was surrounded by my friends and family, and they were going crazy. My mom was crying, I was getting emotional. It was a special moment.
Since then, it’s been nonstop, just trying to get up to speed and get ready for the season.
And I’m telling you, Philly … every day that I’m here, it becomes more and more obvious that I couldn’t have landed in a better spot.
That’s why I wanted to hit you guys up real quick before the season starts. Everything has happened so fast, and things have been so crazy, that I never got a chance to properly introduce myself.
So … I’m Miles.
Sometimes I go by Boobie.
John Jones/Icon SportswireOne of the reasons the Eagles were so high on my list was because … PA, man. The Steelers and Eagles were right at the top because I’m a Pennsylvania boy, through and through — born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, went to (WE ARE!) Penn State, and now blessed to be a Philadelphia Eagle.
Everything I am … it’s all PA. I’m proud of that.
But here’s the thing about growing up playing football in Pennsylvania: If you’re good enough, you get labeled as the next so-and-so. We’ve had so many great football players come out of this state over the years, especially recently. So there are some kids out here in PA right now being called the next Tyler Boyd, or the next Marvin Harrison, or the next Aaron Donald — all Pennsylvania legends.
When I was coming up, people called me the next LeSean McCoy, which I was cool with because I always loved Shady’s game. He could ball.
But after a while, the comparisons get to be a lot. Not so much the pressure — I’m cool with that — but more the fact that it’s easy to get caught up in trying to be somebody else or live up to expectations, instead of just controlling what you can control and doing you. It’s easy to forget who you are.
I almost ran into that at Penn State after Saquon Barkley left.
I gotta admit, sitting on the bench behind Saquon was probably the most difficult thing I’ve gone through in my football career. For two seasons I watched my brother take the world by storm. And I was happy to see him shine. He’s a special player.
But man, it was tough to go from being the man in high school — one of the top backs in the state ready to blow up in college — to … being a backup.
Looking back, I’m thankful for that struggle because I used that time to grow as a person, and also to get stronger and more explosive as a running back. I really took my game to another level, and I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of in the process.
When Saquon left for the NFL, he pulled me aside and said, “Boobie … just go out there and be you. Don’t try to be anybody else.”
I guess maybe he had heard what people had been calling me, now that he was leaving.
The next Saquon Barkley.
I don’t think I ever had it in my head that I needed to be Saquon. But can you imagine a tougher player to follow? Those are big shoes to fill. And for him to make it a point to let me know that he had the confidence in me to make a name for myself and help carry our team … that really meant a lot.
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesI’ll always be thankful for Saquon. He has been a huge motivator for me.
And now, here in Philly, I have more motivation than ever to be great.
When I get into that huddle and I look around, I see Kelce and Lane Johnson, both Pro Bowlers. Jason Peters, who’s been to nine Pro Bowls in his 16 years in the league. I see Zach Ertz, Carson Wentz, DeSean Jackson, Nelly Agholor — and it’s like, Damn (excuse my language), we got some ballers right here.
And most of them have Super Bowl rings.
So I see these guys, and all I can think is, Man, I gotta get on their level. I gotta work harder.
And they’re bringing the best out of me. I really believe that. They’ve all been such great mentors, coaching me up on the field and teaching me how to be a pro off it. It’s pretty unbelievable, really.
I feel like I’m the luckiest guy in all of Pennsylvania.
Bill Streicher/USA TODAY SportsIn a way, Philly feels a lot like Penn State, because Eagles fans are everywhere. I can’t even go to the grocery store without somebody coming up to me like, “Hey, aren’t you…?”
And I mean that in a good way. It’s been all love. All support. Believe me, I’ve heard all the stories about how tough Philly fans can be. And even though I haven’t experienced it myself full force, I believe every word. Because I can see how much you guys love this team.
So what I want you to know about me is that you have a player here who loves this game as much as you love your Eagles. Somebody who’s going to ball out and put his heart and soul into every game, every run, every snap. A Pennsylvania kid who’s blessed to still be home, reppin’ PA. I feel like I have a whole state behind me, supporting me. I don’t take that lightly. And I can’t imagine being in a better place.
But there’s gonna be no more comparisons. No more “next this,” or “next that.” Because the Eagles didn’t draft me to be the next anything.
They drafted me to be Miles Sanders.
And I’m gonna work my tail off to make sure you remember the name.