Linval Joseph explains why he was so excited to join Eagles


Linval Joseph was out of the league for the first couple months of this season but he wasn’t done with it.

The 34-year-old nose tackle spent the first 10 weeks of the 2022 season back in Minnesota working out, staying ready and keeping tabs on some teams he’d be interested in joining.

He even bought the NFL Sunday Ticket package to watch all the league action. One team really stood out.

“I’ve been watching this team because they were 8-0. So I was watching them every week,” Joseph said on Thursday after signing with the Eagles. “I wanted to see what made them so good. And just seeing that they’re well balanced is pretty big. Because right now I think they’re the only team in the NFL that’s well-balanced in every room.”

A couple weeks ago, Joseph even had a conversation with his agent about how well-rounded the Eagles were. As luck would have it, the Eagles then had a couple defensive linemen go down with injuries and needed reinforcements.

The Eagles agreed to terms with Joseph on Wednesday and he was out on the field for his first practice on Thursday.

“It felt good, man,” Joseph said to a crowd around his new locker in the NovaCare Complex. “First practice, it was a little brisk, got my helmet on, got a nice little head-butt. It was just like, ‘Man, I missed this.’”

The Eagles this week added Joseph on Wednesday and then added Ndamukong Suh on Thursday. Joseph said he knew there was a chance the Eagles were still going to add Suh and he was all for it.

Joseph has won a Super Bowl ring before and he thinks this team has what it takes. He likes that they’re all-in.

“The ultimate goal here is to get another ring,” Joseph said, “and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure we can get that done.”

While Joseph missed the first 10 weeks of the season, his plan was always to return to the NFL in 2022. He was just healing up from a couple offseason procedures to his elbow and shoulder and was patiently waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. Joseph said he had some other opportunities but this chance with the Eagles seemed to fit.

A few hours after he arrived at the NovaCare Complex, Joseph seemed pretty pleased with his decision.

“I’ve been here one day and I feel like I’ve been here the whole time, since the start of the season,” he said. “I just want to keep growing and help this team as much as I can.”

Without Jordan Davis for at least the next couple weeks, the Eagles could certainly use the 330-pound veteran to fill in.

Joseph has been 100% healthy since the end of August and has been back in Minnesota working out, waiting for the right phone call. This week, he’s working furiously to learn the Eagles’ playbook but is ready to play on Sunday in Indianapolis.

“That’s the goal,” Joseph said. “I’ve been training for this moment. It all comes down to the playbook. It’s a new playbook but I’m picking it up. I don’t know how much I’m going to play but the goal is to be on the field on Sunday.”

In his 13th NFL season, Joseph is past his prime. He was a Pro Bowler for the Vikings in 2016 and 2017, when Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was on the staff. But even last year with the Los Angeles Chargers, Joseph played at a high level and really gave the Eagles problems in that Week 9 game at the Linc.

Eagles longtime center Jason Kelce was very complimentary of Joseph on Thursday. Not only is Joseph huge (6-4, 330), Kelce said, but he’s also very smart and uses his experience to his advantage to stuff the run.

Joseph and Kelce have had some battles over the years.

“Kelce is a hell of a player and it meant the world to hear him vouch for me,” Joseph said.

Joseph was a second-round pick out of East Carolina back in the 2010 draft, which also produced Suh and Brandon Graham. He’s had a long career as a big nose tackle in the NFL and that’s the role he’s expected to play with the Eagles.

While Joseph can play multiple positions and is extremely athletic — “I just look like this. I’m a world-class athlete. I’m fast, I’m strong, I’m blessed” — his main role will be to eat space, occupy double teams and stuff the run in the middle of the Eagles’ defense.

That can be a pretty thankless job and it takes a certain level of humility. Joseph on Thursday explained his role in the NFL with some words that have stuck with him from former teammate Osi Umenyiora:

“At the end of the day, my job is to pull down the branch and let other guys pick the fruit. Sometimes they drop some fruit on the ground and when they do, you gotta pick it up yourself. My whole career I’ve been doing that and it did me well. Being an unselfish guy and being a team guy, it got me here.”

That’s very much like the sentiment we’ve heard from Davis since he entered the NFL. The rookie first-round pick from Georgia always says, “Two on me, somebody’s free.”

The Eagles expect Davis to return at some point this season. He’s out for at least two more games with a high ankle sprain but the Eagles will get a boost when he returns. And now they’ll be able to rotate two legitimate nose tackles in Gannon’s defense.

This D-line has plenty of aging veterans but with that comes a ton of experience. The Eagles have seven linemen who have been to a Pro Bowl. That’s why Joseph didn’t mind that Suh will be joining him in Philly very soon.

“At this point, they want to do everything they can do win, to get that Super Bowl ring and Suh’s a hell of a player, he’s been a hell of a player for a long time, man,” Joseph said. “Just more ammunition to the fire. Once we can all get together, learn the playbook together and get on the same page, I feel like Fly Eagles Fly, we should be able to get a lot done.”

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