The Philadelphia Eagles have announced the 2016 class of the Eagles Hall of Fame: linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and broadcaster Merrill Reese.
Former All-Pro linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and longtime play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese will be inducted into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame on November 28, when the team hosts the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie made the announcement at tonight’s Taking Flight for Autism event at Lincoln Financial Field.
Trotter spent eight non-consecutive years in Philadelphia, where the hard hitting and fearsome tackler was known as “The Axe Man” for his signature celebration move.
Trotter was a 3rd round selection by the Eagles in 1998, but appeared in only 8 games his rookie year. In 1999 Jim Johnson made him the team’s starting middle linebacker, and he quickly became one of the core pieces of Johnson’s outstanding defenses. He made the Pro Bowl in 2000 and 2001, along with First Team All-Pro honors in 2000 and was a 2nd Team All-Pro in 2001.
Trotter then left on acrimonious terms after the 2001 season when he and the team could not reach an agreement on a long term contract, resulting in the Eagles rescinding their franchise tag on Trotter. He signed with the Redskins on a seven year deal but was released after two seasons and rejoined the Eagles for the 2004 season.
Initially a backup that year, Trotter returned to the starting line up after 7 games, aiding the Eagles in reaching the Super Bowl, and retained his starting spot through the 2006 season. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2005 and 2006, but was again surprisingly released by the Eagles late in training camp in 2007. He spent the 2007 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and appeared in only three games, then missed the 2008 season after knee surgery. In 2009 he once again rejoined the Eagles after Stewart Bradley tore his ACL, Trotter started seven games that season, his last in the league.
Merrill Reese is almost synonymous with the Philadelphia Eagles and is a Philadelphia icon. Reese was elevated to the role of play by play announcer for WIP’s Eagles broadcasts after Charlie Swift, the play by play announcer and WIP’s sports director, committed suicide in December of 1977. Reese, at the time the team’s color commentator, was moved to play by play duties, and a star was born.
Reese’s smooth baritone voice that quickly transitions to an excited fasletto helped make Reese of the NFL’s most beloved play by play announcers. From his signature “it’s good!” call to memorable moments like “they stop him again!” against the Cowboys in 1995, the original Miracle at the Meadowlands in 1978, and his “I don’t care if he jumps” call in the second Miracle at the Meadowlands in 2010, Reese became an irreplaceable part of Eagles history.
Reese is the longest tenured play by play announcer in the NFL and at age 73 is still going strong. The Eagles are waiving their requirement that an Eagles Hall of Fame inductee be retired for three season in order to rightfully induct him among team legends.