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10 Eagles who made a huge impact in a very short time

A look back at 10 Eagles who had short but impactful careers in Philadelphia.

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Haason Reddick was here just two years but piled up 27 sacks, 3 ½ more in the postseason, played in a Super Bowl and in 2022 finished fourth in Defensive Player of the Year balloting.

Quite an Eagles career compacted into two seasons.

The Reddick trade got us thinking about other Eagles who made a big impact on the franchise despite spending a brief amount of time with the Eagles.

And we thought, as we often do, "Hey, let's come up with a list!"

So for the purposes of this article, we found 10 Eagles who spent two or fewer years here but still made a significant contribution. Even if they spent a third year here just in training camp, they’re disqualified. These are just guys who were part of the franchise for two seasons. 

LeGarrette Blount [2017]: The Eagles got by with Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood as the running backs in 2016, but with Mathews out of the picture and Sproles turning 34 before the 2017 season began, the Eagles had to beef the position up. Jay Ajayi would arrive after the season began, but in mid-May – two months after the start of free agency – they snapped up Blount, who had rushed for an NFL-best 18 touchdowns the year before with the Patriots for the budget price of $1.25 million, barely above minimum wage. Blount rushed for 766 yards with a 4.4 average during his one season with the Eagles, and in the Super Bowl, facing his former team, he ran 14 times for 90 yards, including a 36-yarder to set up a Nick Foles TD pass to Alshon Jeffery and a 21-yard TD, and his 6.4 rushing average remains 10th-highest in Super Bowl history. The Eagles moved forward the next year with Josh Adams, Core Clement, Ajayi and Smallwood, and Blount finished his career with one more season with Detroit.

Jeff Garcia [2006, 2009]After the Mike McMahon disaster in 2005 Andy Reid was committed to never get caught without a capable backup again and when three-time Pro Bowler Jeff Garcia was available before the 2006 season he didn’t hesitate to sign him, even at 36. When Donovan McNabb tore his ACL against the Titans, Garcia replaced him and salvaged the season. After a loss to the Colts in his first start as an Eagle, he won five straight games to rally the Eagles to a 10-6 record and NFC East title. When the Eagles beat the Giants in a wild-card game, he became the first Eagles QB other than McNabb to win a playoff game since Rodney Peete in 1995. Garcia then spent two years in Tampa before finishing his career in 2009 with the Eagles in a largely ceremonial role.

Bud Grant [1951-52]: The Eagles drafted Grant out of Minnesota in the first round in 1950, and after playing exclusively on defense as a rookie in 1951, he was moved to offensive end his second year. Grant, who also played in for the Lakers and was on their 1950 NBA Championship team, responded to the move by catching 56 passes for a franchise-record 997 yards – 11th-most in NFL history to that point - and seven touchdowns. To this day, his 83 yards per game in 1952 has been surpassed by only seven Eagles, including Mike Quick, T.O., DeSean Jackson and A.J. Brown. When his contract was up and he and the Eagles couldn’t agree on a salary, Grant signed with the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he made all-league three times and once had five interceptions in a game. He began coaching in the CFL and led Winnipeg to four Grey Cup titles and then coached the Vikings for 17 years, winning a Super Bowl in 1969. He ranks 22nd in NFL history with 158 wins.

Greg Jackson [1994-95]: One-time Giants 3rd-round pick signed with the Eagles as a free agent in 1994 and picked off six passes, the most by a player in his first year with the Eagles since 1977, when both John Sanders and Herm Edwards had six. One of his six INTs was a 51-yard pick-6 off Gus Frerotte in a win over Washington at RFJ Stadium. He was the last safety with six INTs in a season until Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in 2022. Jackson had another INT in 1995 but that was the extent of his Eagles career. He finished his 12-year career with one season with the Saints and four with the Chargers.

Don Looney [1940]: Looney led the NFL with 58 catches for 707 yards as a rookie in 1940, which turned out to be his only season as an Eagle. The 58 catches remained an Eagles rookie record for nearly half a century, until Keith Jackson caught 81 passes as a rookie in 1988, and the 707 yards remained an Eagles rookie record until 1973, when Charle Young had 854. He was also the only NFL player with 100 receiving yards in each of his first two NFL games until DeSean Jackson 68 years later. Looney became a Steeler as part of a dispersal draft when the franchise was sold after the 1940 season. He spent two uneventful years in Pittsburgh – he caught just 17 passes for 245 yards – before joining the Army and serving in World War II. He never played football again.

Terrell Owens [2004-05]: Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the Eagles acquired Terrell Owens in a strange three-way trade among the 49ers and Ravens. T.O. only played 21 regular-season games in an Eagles uniform but still ranks 23rd in franchise history with 20 TD catches. He averaged 93.5 yards per game as an Eagle, highest in franchise history until A.J. Brown broke his record halfway through last year. Owens in turn reclaimed the record later in the year and still holds it. Owens’ 122 yards in Super Bowl XXXIX is the most ever by an Eagle in a Super Bowl. After piling up 763 yards in just seven games in 2005, he was suspended by Andy Reid and never played here again. He finished his career with three years in Dallas and one each in Buffalo and Cincinnati. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018, although he was a no-show in Canton.

Haason Reddick [2022-23]: Reddick recorded 16 and 11 sacks in his two years with the Eagles, and the 27 sacks are the most by any Eagle in a two-year span since 1991 and 1992, when Clyde Simmons had 32 and Reggie White 29 ½. Reddick’s 27 sacks are 2nd-most ever by any player in his first two years with the Eagles (White had 31 in 1985 and 1986). He’s the first player to leave the Eagles after making the Pro Bowl in every season he was here since Norm Van Brockin, a Pro Bowl pick in 1958, 1959 and 1960. Reddick’s 3 ½ sacks in the 2022 playoffs are a franchise record for a single postseason, and his 19 ½ total sacks in 2022 are 2nd-most in Eagles history behind White’s 21 in 12 games in 1987. Reddick, traded to the Jets on Friday, averaged a sack every 1.26 games, 3rd-highest in Eagles history behind White (one every 1.02 games) and Dennis Harrison (one every 1.21 games).

Patrick Robinson [2017]: Patrick Robinson was struggling so badly in training camp a lot of observers really thought he was going to get released. But in a last-ditch effort to salvage something out of the signing, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz moved Robinson from outside corner into the slot after the Ronald Darby trade, and Robinson responded with a big season – a career-high four interceptions, plus the historic 50-yard pick-6 off Case Keenum to start off the Eagles’ 38-7 rout of the Vikings in the 2018 NFC Championship Game. Robinson, who had spent his first five NFL seasons with the Saints, returned to New Orleans in 2018 and played three more years with the Saints. 

D’Andre Swift [2023]: The first player to spend just one year with the Eagles and make a Pro Bowl in that season since guard Dick Bassi in 1940. Swift ranked 11th among running backs with 1,263 scrimmage yards last year, and his 4.6 average was 10th-highest ever by an Eagles running back in a 1,000-yard season. Only LeSean McCoy (three times), Brian Westbrook (twice) and Wilbert Montgomery (twice) and Miles Sanders (once) had a higher average in a 1,000-yard season. The only running backs with more yards in their first season with the Eagles are Ricky Watters and Herschel Walker. Swift, who spent his first three seasons with the Lions, signed as a free agent with the Bears. 

Leonard Weaver [2009-10]: Weave signed with the Eagles as a free-agent fullback in 2009 and made the Pro Bowl and 1st-team all-pro with 323 rushing yards, 15 catches for 140 yards and four total touchdowns and some next-level blocking for LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook. After the season, the Eagles signed Weaver to a three-year, $11 million contract that made the highest-paid fullback in NFL history. Early in the second quarter of the 2010 season opener in Green Bay, on his first carry of the year, Weaver suffered gruesome knee and foot injuries that ended his career.

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