Myles Jack packed for a weekend trip.
A few days later he was taking first-team reps for one of the NFL’s top Super Bowl contenders and it doesn’t look like he’ll be leaving anytime soon.
“I got two pairs of drawers, two pairs of sweats, two pairs of socks to my name,” Jack said on Wednesday afternoon. “My bible in my bag. Like, I don’t have anything. I’m staying at the hotel.
“I wouldn’t rather have it any other way, man. I’m here now and I went to Ross and bought me some white t-shirts and I’m here now. That’s how it goes. They give you a playbook and the next day, you’re out here practicing.”
Jack was home in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon when his workout was interrupted by a FaceTime call with Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. Shortly after that, he was on a flight to Philadelphia that got delayed and left him jet-lagged for his tryout with the Eagles the following day.
And since he already had a return flight booked and had been told to clean out his hotel room, Jack assumed he would be flying back to Jacksonville.
Instead, the Eagles signed Jack and fellow veteran linebacker Zach Cunningham on Sunday afternoon to bolster their linebacker depth. Both Jack and Cunningham were spectators at Sunday’s practice, passed their physicals on Monday and were on the practice fields Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex.
While the Eagles put Cunningham with their second-team defense, they didn’t waste anytime with Jack, throwing him into the fire with first-team reps in each of his first two practices.
“One week, you’re sitting at home, the next week you’re with a Super Bowl contender,” Jack said. “It’s a blessing.”
It was clear that the Eagles’ weakest position heading into training camp was linebacker and when Nakobe Dean suffered a minor ankle injury, it was even more obvious they had to make a move. Instead, they made two. While it seems like Dean is still expected to be a starting middle linebacker in Sean Desai’s defense, one of these new guys could very well be the starter next to him. If nothing else, these signings helped their depth.
Both Jack, 27, and Cunningham, 28, found themselves in similar situations this offseason.
They didn’t know what their football futures held.
Jack was a second-round pick in 2016, Cunningham was a second-rounder in 2017. Both have a ton of starting experience in the NFL, both have been considered top linebackers, who once earned big contracts. But both also had no idea what was going to happen late into this offseason as they remained unsigned through July, while the rest of the league reported to training camp.
“It was a little strange but I had something to fill the time with,” Cunningham said. “I was on the (video) game, working out, just waiting on that call and to get back into it.”
Jack was doing the same things. Working out, playing Call of Duty, waiting for a call. But during this humbling offseason, he thought about his life after football too and wondered if it might have already arrived.
Jack said after he was released by the Steelers in March, he began to think about going to trade school to learn how to become an electrician or plumber.
“I’m a hustler so I feel like I can do anything. I like to work,” Jack said. “I just couldn’t sit at home. I’ve been blessed to make a lot of money so I could just retire and sit at the house but I’m too bored. My mind is too much. I just want to be innovative. I don’t know, if a zombie apocalypse happens, I want to be able to like build something or like fix something. You know what I mean?”
But before he got too far into planning his second career, Jack’s high school teammate Budda Baker told him to fly out to Arizona and work out with him so he did. Jack spent a few months in Arizona, working out but not knowing where he was going to end up.
There were a few teams that expressed interest in the meantime but offers didn’t materialize and he’s still not sure why.
“That’s a good question,” Jack said. “But if it led me right here to this spot, man, I’m not really tripping. This is a great place to be. I’m excited.”
This offseason was humbling for both Jack and Cunningham. Jack has started 95 games in his career and was a fixture of the defense in Jacksonville for years. Cunningham has started 76 games and was a similarly steady presence in Houston for many seasons.
Jack and Cunningham didn’t have a tight bond but they were familiar with each other because of the time they spent facing off in the AFC South. The Eagles were honest with both of them this weekend; they each knew they weren’t the only linebacker signing in Philly.
Cunningham dealt with an elbow injury in 2022 that limited him to just six games with the Titans. While Cunningham says he’s healthy now, that injury gave him a new perspective on football.
Jack has a new perspective too. He felt a sense of relief to sign with the Eagles on Sunday after a difficult offseason. He said he didn’t enjoy the last few months but thinks he’s a better man having gone through it.
And eventually, Jack said, he’ll probably get some of his clothes from home mailed to him in Philly.
Until then, he’s got bigger things on his mind.
“I’ll wash my drawers and figure it out,” Jack said. “I’m really just locked in on the playbook and speak the same language as everybody else on that field. That’s really where I’m at with it.”