Philadelphia Eagles safety Walter Thurmond III has seen a lot in his six-year career. As a member of the Seattle Seahawks he experienced the highest of highs, winning Super Bowl XLVIII as a member of Seattle's "Legion of Boom". But there have also been lows - by Thurmond's own admission, he's only played a little over two full seasons.
Knowing that, perhaps it's not a surprise to learn that Thurmond signed with the Eagles and moved to safety to give both himself and the Eagles the best chance to reach the NFL mountaintop.
"[The secondary has] a lot of hard workers, guys buying into the program; dedicating themselves to the higher calling of the team." Thurmond said Monday night at an event for the Walter Thurmond Foundation. "And that’s one of the reasons why I moved to the safety position, to give us the best four guys out there.
"At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to win a championship ... It’s really a selfless act to be able to get to that situation, and we understand that. It just comes down to us executing in the second half."
Thurmond knows what he's talking about, and he's not alone. Former Seahawks teammates Byron Jones and Chris Maragos also have rings from their win in 2013, and former Saint Malcolm Jenkins won it all in 2009. As for the second half of the season, Thurmond's confidence hasn't wavered. According to him, the Eagles still have what it takes to win the Super Bowl.
"I think we do have what it takes to be able to go win a championship," Thurmond said. "You look at all our losses; it’s a situation of us just beating ourselves. And we realize that. We have a really good football team. Even though our record says otherwise, we know what we have in our room and it really comes down to [needing to] execute on all three phases and we can’t beat ourselves. That’s the biggest thing.
"Just like last night and the past games we have played in, it just comes to the situation of us failing to execute when we need to and not making it happen, unfortunately. But we understand that. It’s a good time for us to have our bye week to recharge and come back even stronger."
The Eagles fell to 3-4 on the season after a sloppy 27-16 loss at the hands of the undefeated Carolina Panthers. Though the Philadelphia defense gave up a season high in rushing yards, the secondary played on of its best games. In fact, Thurmond was the only starter in the secondary who didn't come away with an interception of Cam Newton on Monday night.
Despite the subpar record, the Eagles can still make the playoffs in a wide-open (and, frankly, pretty terrible) NFC East. After the bye week, the Eagles will travel to Texas to take on the Cowboys, then come home for the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Despite having never played safety at any level before this year, Thurmond is having an outstanding 2015 campaign. Through seven games he has 34 tackles and three interceptions, and is rated as Pro Football Focus' fifth-best safety(his fellow starting safety Jenkins is rated second).
Thurmond partnered with Thuzio Executive Club for Monday's event to raise money for the Walter Thurmond Foundation, which partners with existing organizations in Philadelphia. On Monday night, the benefit raised funds for the Big Picture Alliance, which provides film and media arts education for underserved youths in Philadelphia.