Philadelphia Eagles

Why Jalen Reagor laughed when he got booed


When you’re an underachieving 1st-round pick, maybe it helps to have another underachieving 1st-round pick in the locker room.

Someone who understands exactly what you're going through.

And who can relate to Jalen Reagor’s career so far better than Derek Barnett?

So when Reagor got roundly booed during the Eagles’ win over Washington at the Linc back on Dec. 22, it was Barnett who gave him some words of advice.

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“It was funny, honestly,” Reagor said said of the boos. “Derek Barnett, he told me just embrace that type of stuff. Because it shows they’re paying attention.

“That’s just like the saying once a coach stops yelling at you and stops coaching you, then you should be worried. It was kind of funny. It was funny to hear the boos and hearing my other teammates just saying don’t worry about it, knowing they had my back regardless.”

Barnett, the 14th pick in the 2017 draft, has just 21 ½ sacks in five seasons and just 2.0 this year. Reagor, the 21st pick in last year’s draft, has just 676 receiving yards in 27 career games, only 280 this year.

Two of the most disappointing Eagles 1st-round picks of this generation.

Needless to say, both have heard it from Eagles fans at various times, Barnett generally for his endless penalties and Reagor for his drops, unproductive punt returns or losses on jet sweeps.

In the first Washington game, Reagor was booed a couple times, notably after a one-yard punt return in the third quarter. But the boos turned to cheers when he caught a season-long 34-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to set up the Greg Ward touchdown that gave the Eagles a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Reagor may think the boos are funny, but they did bother him enough that when Miles Sanders that night tweeted, “Stop booing the players we put our heart and soul into this,” Reagor responded in a since-deleted tweet simply, “!!”

The reality is Reagor’s first two NFL seasons have been incredibly disappointing. His rookie year was disappointing and this year he’s averaged half as many yards per game (36.0 to 17.5).

He’s got a chance to become only the sixth wide receiver in NFL history drafted in the first round to finish his second season with less than 700 career yards despite at least 20 starts.

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Reagor spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since that Washington game and said his confidence hasn’t wavered despite the sluggish start to his career.

And the boos.

“I know who I am,” he said. “I’m going to always say this, I’m not here by accident. That’s how I keep my confidence up. Remembering what got me here. Just keeping that swagger.”

Reagor had a career-high 57 yards against Washington and then followed that up with a season-long 39-yard punt return against the Giants, although he also had a bad drop against the Giants and then another one in the second Washington game.

He ranks 82nd this year with 9.0 yards per catch out of 87 WRs with at least 30 catches, he ranks last with 280 yards among all receivers who’ve started at least 12 games and he ranks 29th among 36 punt returners who’ve brought back at least 10 punts with a 7.3 average.

Ward, now in his fifth year with the Eagles, is the veteran leader of the wide receiver room, and his advice to Reagor is to ignore the noise and keep working.

“Block it all out,” he said. “Just keep moving forward. All that stuff doesn’t matter. What matters is the next play so just focus in and just continue to be you.”

Reagor said throughout all his struggles, coach Nick Sirianni has been supportive and positive with him.

“Me personally, he’ll text me, he’ll come up to me, just say little words of affirmation,” he said. “With everyone else I’m pretty sure he does the same.

"Even when the fans were booing me, he was very upset about it when I dropped the pass against New York, (but) he was the first person to walk up to me, he walked me through the tunnel.

“He has our back and I believe he has our back.”

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