Darius Slay is one part cornerback, one part stand-up comedian. The dude is hilarious. Cracking up his teammates before practice, trying to sing like Usher during a press conference, joking with fans in the middle of practice, you just never know what to expect from him. He’s a trip.
James Bradberry is … none of the above.
While Slay is a non-stop stream of cornball jokes and comic impressions and infectious laughter, his counterpart across the field is all business. Bradberry is thoughtful and insightful, but he had been here two weeks before we even saw him smile. And that only happened when he was asked about Slay’s sense of humor.
Slay? Think Asante Samuel. Tremendous personality, loud and boisterous, naturally hilarious.
Bradberry? Think Roynell Young. The Quiet Storm. You might go a week without hearing him say a word.
The one thing Slay and Bradberry have in common is ability. And a deep respect for each other.
Bradberry: “I definitely see it that way. Slay’s a genuine guy, very funny guy. He’s kind of like the opposite of my personality. He’s kind of a talkative guy. I guess opposites attract and that’s why he’s a fun guy to hang around.”
Slay: “Man, honestly, he might be a little bit funnier than me. Just because everybody thinks he’s serious, but he’s really just chill. Being himself. He’s a good dude, man. Humble dude. Very respectful dude. A guy that just loves the game and really enjoys being around us and I enjoy being around him, man, he’s a good person.”
The Eagles acquired Slay from the Lions before the 2020 season, and he made his fourth Pro Bowl last year. The Eagles signed Bradberry this past offseason, giving them their first legit 1-2 cornerback punch since Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown in 2009.
Slay and Bradberry are the only players in the NFL with at least 15 interceptions and 80 pass breakups over the past six years.
Total opposites with a lot in common.
“I don’t really talk about myself, so I’d say to ask Slay about me,” Bradberry said. “I’m probably not real talkative, but I’ve been here for a few weeks so I’m more talkative now. …
“He definitely loosens up the room, but I would say away from the cameras and stuff I’m pretty loose, too. I would say I’m not always uptight and serious all the time.”
Interesting that Bradberry and Slay, who didn’t know each other at all before Slay joined the Eagles in March, have grown very close.
Turns out their opposing personalities really do mesh very well.
“I’m always a guy that wants to build relationships outside of work,” Slay said. “I’m not just a co-worker, I want to be a friend as well, and me and J.B. really became close and we’ll continue our friendship a long time after we’re done.”
Bradberry did allow that Slay is actually very serious when it comes to preparation and practice. You don’t have the success he’s had if you’re not.
It’s just hard to tell sometimes because whenever he’s in public, he’s carrying on and making someone laugh.
“Slay’s always making people laugh,” Bradberry said. “But he is serious, but that’s just his way of approaching the game.
"My way is going to be different than the next guy and the next guy is going to be different from the next guy. But he’s always serious about the game and serious about his craft.”
The reality is that Slay and Bradberry are both students of the game, diligent workers and committed to getting better.
They just have different ways of getting there.
“He’s a talented kid,” Slay said. “Dude is really going out there and getting after it. Big physical guy. Could be a great thing for us. We can match up better with a lot of guys because I’m the speed guy, he’s more of a physical guy.
“We’re both learning from each other, we’re learning how to use both techniques together. He’s teaching me some things about how he does stuff, I’m teaching him some things about how I do it, and we’re just building a bond.
“We’re continuing to keep striving and be best and do our best to help this team win.”
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