2024 NFL Draft

Why Jeremiah Trotter Jr. had to stop celebrating getting drafted by Eagles

Trotter Jr. was selected by the Eagles in the fifth round

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Like a lot of recent college graduates, he’s going to live at home.

“It’s not too far. And I'll save some money,” he said with a laugh.

This isn’t just any old college graduate, this is new Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr., who began his NFL career over the weekend at Eagles rookie camp.

For most Eagles rookies, this is their first trip to Philadelphia and for a lot of them it’s their first time in the Northeast.

For Trotter, it’s old hat.

He was constantly at the NovaCare Complex and the Linc as a youngster, and although he was only 7 when his dad played his last season with the Eagles in 2009, he has fond memories of those days.

“It’s always happy when you’re going into a new stage in your life or the next stage on your journey if you have people around you that you’re comfortable with or even just an area that you’re comfortable with,” Trotter said.

“That helps you be free and just be more comfortable in your environment and just feel like you’re at home. I feel like God really blessed me to have the opportunity to play here. Just to stay home. I know the area, I know the team, I pretty much knew the facility, where everything was, so it worked out really well.”

Trott Jr. said he remembers his dad carrying him around after practice at the NovaCare Complex while his older sister TreMil walked alongside them and remembers playing on the field sometimes after home games at the Linc.

He’s too young to remember Trotter’s glory years. When Trott made his last Pro Bowl in 2005, Trott Jr. had just turned 3. But he’s grown up hearing stories about his dad’s legendary career, watching videos of his dad, and when it came time to pick a jersey number for his own career, he didn’t hesitate.

“They didn’t necessarily ask me (what number I wanted), they kind of assumed what number I was going to ask for and kind of put it on hold,” he said. “I was very happy it was available and they decided to give me that number. 

"So I'm going to wear it with pride and be the best player I can.”

A handful of Eagles have won 54 since Trott — Tracy White in 2008 and 2009, Brandon Graham his first three seasons from 2010 through 2012, Jake Knott in 2013, Kamu Grugier-Hill in 2016-2019 and most recently Shaun Bradley — another Burlington County native — when healthy the last four years.

But now 54 belongs to another Trotter.  

“Very excited,” he said. “I’ve been wearing it my whole life.”

Trotter is a really fun story, especially for the generation of Eagles fans who grew up watching Trotter Sr. make plays all over the field during his two productive stints here — 1998 through 2001 and 2004 through 2006. No other Eagles linebacker in the last 50 years has made four Pro Bowls.

But things change now. The time for celebrating being an Eagle is over. Now it’s time to get to work.

“I feel like you have to treat it kind of like a game,” he said. “You have a big win on Saturday, maybe it’s an overtime win, you celebrate that night after, maybe an extra day, and then you’re back grinding and getting ready for the next opponent. That’s how I’m trying to treat it and have that mindset. 

“Celebrate it, thank God, celebrate with my family, thank the coaches and this organization, and then, after that celebration period, I was back grinding and making sure I lock in on what I have to do to make sure I come in and just contribute to the team any way I can.”

There’s going to be a ton of speculation as training camp gets closer on what Trotter’s role will be. Normally, expectations of 5th-round picks are muted. But the Eagles don't have any sure things at off-ball linebacker, and it’s hard to look at that No. 54 jersey and not get excited about seeing him on the field.

“Honestly, I’m just focused on what I can control and that’s just me coming in and trying to be the best player I can, learning the defense, making sure I know what I’m doing and just being a good teammate,” Trotter said. 

“I’m just looking to help the team however I can. Whatever role I’m put in, that’s the role I’m going to put 100 percent effort in.”

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