College is often called a formative time. Kids turn into young adults, learn what motivates them, and form bonds that last lifetimes.
For the Eagles’ newest offensive lineman Chance Warmack, college was when he met Jeff Stoutland.
Stoutland, then the offensive line coach at Alabama, left a lasting impression on Warmack. In his senior year, Warmack was named First Team All-SEC and a unanimous All-American, and the following spring he was selected 10th overall by the Titans.
When he thinks of Stoutland, naturally Warmack thinks of some of the best football he’s ever played.
So, a chance to reunite with his former tutor? It was a no-brainer. So much so that Warmack said he turned down better financial offers to come to Philadelphia.
“[Stoutland] influenced my decision very much,” Warmack said at his introductory press conference Friday. “He’s my guy, helped me a lot in college, took me to the next level, and I’m hoping to make that magic work again here.”
Warmack said he and Stoutland already got together and chatted since he arrived in Philadelphia to sign his one-year deal with the team. The two talked scheme and strategy. Warmack said Stoutland’s scheme is very lineman-friendly, similar to the things Stoutland ran at Alabama.
“He’s a dynamic coach,” Warmack said. “He’s a guy that’s going to pull everything he can up out of you. He knows me. He knows the type of player I am from Alabama. And I feel like that relationship in itself is what’s going to take me to the next level.
“I’m just excited, man. I’m ready to go.”
Warmack played left guard in college, but spent his four years in Tennessee playing right guard. He feels comfortable in both spots, Warmack said.
In Warmack, Isaac Seumalo, Stefen Wisniewski, and Allen Barbre, the Eagles have four quality offensive linemen comfortable playing multiple positions. That diversity is rare, and valuable.
Of course, the Eagles have an entrenched, highly-paid right tackle in Brandon Brooks. Brooks had a good first season with the team and, unless his anxiety returns next season, is expected to be a 16-game starter at that position. Which means Warmack is ostensibly battling with Barbre, and possibly Seumalo, for the starting left guard position when OTAs and training camp begin.
Warmack isn’t concerned with his place on the line for now, he says. He’s just ready to play.
“Wherever I can help the team the best way, I’m gonna do that,” Warmack said. “Whatever they ask of me to do, whether it’s play left or right, I’ll do that for them. I’m here, I’m a team player, and I’m here to help the team.”
Before he signed with the team, Warmack said, he didn’t pore over the depth chart worrying about potential playing time. He chose the Eagles because of his connection with Stoutland, and because he thinks the Eagles are a team on the come-up.
“This is a great team, a great organization,” Warmack said. “They’re on the rise, man. I feel like we can really make some things happen here. I really mean that. That’s what the organization, that’s what the team in terms of offense and defense, the personnel, everything’s clicking on all cylinders, and I want to be part of that.”
After missing most of the 2016 season with a hand injury, Warmack sounded Friday every bit a man who’s missed football, and isn’t worried about specifics so much as just playing the game.
“I’m ready to go,” Warmack said. “They cleared me. Ready to go, ready to grab, punch.”
Whatever the Eagles ask for.